Richard “Rick” Wayne Dunham
Born: January 16, 1947
Died: July 01, 2015
Richard W. Dunham, of Edna, Texas, known affectionately to all as Rick, passed away Wednesday night July 1, 2015. He was surrounded by his wife of 48 years, Donna, and his children. His service to God throughout his life was what he would want most to be remembered. He served at the Robinson Street church of Christ as a deacon for 16 years, and afterwards, as an elder for four years until his battle with cancer.
What most people recall about Rick was his sense of humor. He loved to have fun and joke around, and he chose happiness in every situation. He could make anyone laugh and feel included. He was warm and kind and generous of spirit. Rick served his country stateside in the Army during the Vietnam War. For the past 20 years, Rick worked as the business manager for John D. Mercer & Associates; he retired in September of 2014. During his retirement, Rick spent time visiting his grandchildren and building model railroads, his favorite hobby. He will be so very missed by all who loved him and who cherished his love.
Richard is survived by his wife of 48 years, Donna Lynn Jennings Dunham of Edna; daughters, Melissa Dunham Winzeler and her husband Eric of Lubbock, Laurie Lynn Hemphill and her husband Matthew of Spring; sisters, Tomelynne Hemingway of Washington, Linda Chandler and her husband John of Yoakum; brother, Bobby Dunham and his wife Donna of Edna; grandchildren, Abigail Winzeler, Will Winzeler and Emily Ann Hemphill, along with numerous nieces and nephews
He is preceded in death by his parents, Richard Afton Dunham and Clara Good Dunham.
Visitation was held on Sunday, July 5, 2015 from 3-5 p.m. in the Oaklawn Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral Services were held on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. Burial followed in the Memory Gardens Cemetery of Edna. Mark Mayberry of Alvin officiated.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Houston Hospice, 1905 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, Texas, 77030 or the church of Christ, 301 Robinson St., Edna, Texas 77957.
Pallbearers will be Jake Akin, John Mercer, Forrest Morris, Robert Volkmer, Paul Linden and Brian Glover. Honorary pallbearers are nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews, John D. Mercer & Associates and Dr. Sabbagh & Staff in Victoria Texas.
Oaklawn Funeral Home, 900 Navidad, Edna, Texas 77957 [http://www.oaklawnfhednatx.com]
Memories of Rick Dunham
Memories by Family
Rick was diagnosed in December of 2011 with colon cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, Rick enjoyed a period of remission, and was graced with several years of health. However, in recent months, the cancer returned. Yet, the family faced this challenge with the assurance of faith: “We know that God gives us no more than we can handle, that through Christ we can do all things, and that the prayer of the righteous avails much!”
On Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 2:54 p.m., Melissa wrote, “Dearest loved ones, It is with the heaviest of hearts, but the most joyful of spirits, that we let you know of Dad’s passing. He was called home about 10:45 last night. Mom, Laurie, Matt and I were with him. We held hands, shared stories, kept vigil, prayed and laughed. It was the first time in a good number of days that we really had the chance to just be us, together. We started making plans for the night, discussing the next day and moving about the room. Dad took the opportunity to slip away, and leave us together with this precious memory of his peaceful passing. While we grieve together, if you are able, feel free to share your favorite memories of Dad. They bring us happiness in our time of sorrow. We want to thank each of you for bearing our burdens and walking with us, and loving us when we needed it the most. We continue to ask for prayers, and we know our Heavenly Father hears our pleas and holds us in His hand.”
Rick’s daughters, Melissa and Laurie, offer the following remembrances:
“Dad was kind, and humorous. He was really good at coming up w/ ideas for our science projects, book reports, etc. Our friends really liked Rick, and would come over to the house just to see him. Dad loved to have fun, and he always did fun things with us. When Papa died one Easter, he purchased a four foot chocolate bunny, just to brighten the mood.”
“Dad would do amazing things for the holidays. On Mom’s 10 year anniversary of being cancer free, he decorated the house and yard in pink. One year he decorated the house w/ an “E.T.” theme for Christmas. He was always ‘Over the Top…’”
Donna said, “He loved family. All his life, there was no my family, your family, but they were all one. Rick was loyal. If family ever needed anything Rick was there. He loved live. He cared for people, and wanted to make people happy. One lady from the community said, “I will never forget the snow cone he brought me…” While Rick was in the hospital in Houston, one of his High School football coaches called, saying that “Rick was the first one on the field and the last one off. Since he served as the equipment manager,” the coach said, “I never had to worry about anything.”
Debbie, the wife of Rick’s cousin, David, recalls: “Rick took our 11 year old son to the state capital, brought him to the top of the rotunda, and taught him about gravity… with spit. Donna was horrified, but Rick felt that it was a rite of passage for any young male.”:
Jimmy Dunham, a cousin related the following story: “Rick’s mom, Clara, told me that when Rick was a little boy, the chain had popped off his bicycle, and Rick was out looking for it after dark. Seeing him searching under a street light, she said, “What are you looking for?” “My bike chain,” he replied. “Where did it come off?,” she asked. “Down the street,” said Rick. “Why are you looking here?” asked Mom. “Because there is more light here under the streetlamp” answered Rick.
Memories by Anna Linden
Paul and Anna Linden are presently members of the Adoue Street in Alvin, where Paul serves as an elder. Formerly, they were members of the Robinson Street congregation here in Edna. Anna offers the following recollections:
“What is to be said about 20 years of a wonderful friendship? Rick Dunham passed from this life into the next last night. He was more than a very dear friend. One in whom I will miss fiercely. He was a gentle man with a huge heart, a quick wit, and a spirit that drove people toward him. He was a godly man, unpretentious, sincere, and unguardedly ornery at times. I have always tried to tell people in my life how I feel about them and Rick Dunham knew I loved him. I told Donna and him many times. What I wish I would have spoken aloud was what an impact he made in my life. He and Donna have extended love and friendship to Paul and me and our boys almost our whole married life… Rick made a real difference in peoples’ lives… that I am sure of. He is a man I’d proudly call my dad. I will remember him with an immense amount of love and consider him a second DAD. He was that precious.”
Memories by Heath Rogers
We met Rick twelve years ago when we moved to Edna. Although all the members of the Robison Street church would become special to me, it didn’t take long for me to realize that Rick and I were kindred spirits. Within a week of moving to Edna, someone put a bumper sticker on my van. It read “I Wasn’t Born In Texas, But I Got Here As Fast As I Could.” I asked many of the members of the church if they had put the sticker on my van. Rick was the only one who did not deny it. I returned the favor a few months later. He and Donna went to Florida on vacation and I put a “For Sale” sign in their front yard. When he found out about it, he said the only thing he was upset about was that he didn’t think of it first.
For quite a while, Rick and Donna had a standing date with us every Friday night. We would usually play a board game at one another’s house. One Friday night, after he bought his jeep, we remember him calling and saying he was coming right over. Sure enough, we looked out our window and saw him driving his jeep through the creek bed! Rick introduced us to a game called Settlers of Catan. He loved it, and soon we did too. He bought the expansion sets of the game, stored the game pieces in Altoids tins, and carried all of it around in a big box. It looked like a mess. One of Rick’s favorite stories was talking about the problems he had getting all the game pieces through airport security in Lubbock.
Although Rick enjoyed laughing and telling jokes, I never heard him tell or laugh at a mother-in-law joke. Rick loved Donna’s parents. He always spoke of Mr. and Mrs. Jennings with honor and respect. He helped Donna take care of them in their declining years, and while there were some complaints and frustrations that come with such a situation, Rick handled it in a very respectful manner, setting a great example for all of us to follow.
While Rick was laid back and gentle man, he took his service as a deacon very seriously. There were a number of times that I heard Rick agree to take on a task in a Deacon’s Meeting on Sunday evening only to be at the building before noon on Monday taking care of the situation. If he said he was going to do something, it got done.
There were several of us who looked up to Rick as father-figure, but something happened to me one day that made a great impact upon me. Someone in town spoke of Rick and I as being father and son. I told Rick about it, and he told me that he had heard the same thing from someone else. We joked about which one of us should be more offended, but the truth be told, I don’t know when I have received a greater compliment.
Rick, the world is a greater place for you having been in it. I am a better person for having known you. I will miss you, my friend. Our deepest sympathies to Donna, Melissa, Laurie, and the entire family.
Memories by Mark Mayberry
Sherelyn and I have known Rick and Donna since 1998 when we moved to Alvin, and began working with the House Street congregation, which later relocated to Adoue Street. Albert and Trudy Jennings, parents of Donna, were longtime members of the Alvin church, and he served as one of the elders. Rick and Donna would frequently visit Alvin, and we had many opportunities to enjoy their company, both in the assembly of the saints, and in various social settings.
In the worship assembly, Rick was always reverent and respectful, offering good comments in Bible class, commending the lessons, upholding the truth in profession and practice. In social settings, Rick was an imp, reminding me of Lucky the Leprechaun, the magical mascot created by General Mills to promote Lucky Charms cereal. Rick always had a twinkle in his eye, and a trick up his sleeve.
In social settings, Rick often pushed the limits of propriety. Yesterday, we ate lunch at Joe’s BBQ with a group from church. Forrest Morris, a longtime friend of the Jennings and Dunham families, related an earlier experience that occurred in the same restaurant. One day, as Rick and Forrest ate their meal, a group of eight Texas Highway Patrolmen were seated at an adjoining table. With a twinkle in his eye, Rick approached their table, pointed at the assembly of law officers, and said, “With all of your sitting here, what do you think my drive time into Houston might be?” All eight officers just stared at him, unblinking, unsmiling, menacingly silent… Rick just grinned and walked away.
Forrest once called Rick on the telephone, Rick answered “What do YOU want?” Taken aback, Forrest apologized saying, “I’m sorry. I must have the wrong number.” Rick gruffly replied, “You have the right number. I know who you are. What do you want!!??”
Yet, foolishness stopped when it came to faith. Yet, in spiritual settings he was the a model of decorum, demonstrating the heart of a disciple. His godly life reflected the values and virtues that David extolled in Psalms 34.
Psalm 34:8-18 (NASB95) — 8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 9 O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. 10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing. 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man who desires life And loves length of days that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Learning from Rick’s example, let us follow same Biblical principles. Rick was a good and godly man because he was a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Rick was not perfect. None are, save the One who bore our sins and carried our sorrows. Rick was a sinner, saved by grace, who humbly accepted the yoke of discipleship, and devoted his life in service to his Lord and Master. He understood that discipleship carries demands. He loved the Word of God, studying and following its inspired teaching. He loved the church of Christ, recognizing that it reflects the manifold wisdom of God. He sought to uphold its divine purpose, to preserve its pattern, and promote its mission. Let us honor his legacy by showing similar commitment to Jesus Christ, the gospel message, and the church that He established.
If you do not know the Lord, and if you are not a member of the church that we read about in the New Testament, open your Bible, learn your duty, and comply with Christ’s commandments. As Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Rick obeyed the gospel plan of salvation, hearing the word of God, believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, repenting of his past sins, confessing his faith` in Christ, and being baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. We do the same.
I encourage you to search for a local congregation that follows the New Testament pattern, like the church of Christ here in Edna, of which Rick was a member. If you desire more information, sit down with the elders of the Edna congregation, or its local evangelist, Phillip Stuckey, and they will happily study with you. May God thus bless all in this assembly, offering comfort on this day of sadness and sorrow, offering hope in times of loss, strength in time of weakness, and salvation to all those who trust and obey heaven’s will.