Richard “Dick” Dunham,80, a Rockefeller confidant

ALBANY—Sadly, Richard L. “Dick” Dunham, 80, of Malden Bridge, passed away with his family at his side on January 21 at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital.


Born on November 25, 1929 to Norton and Jane (Deming) Dunham in Rochester, he was educated in Irondequoit public schools and graduated from high school in 1947. He Richard Dunhamearned a B.A. from the Univ. of Rochester in 1951 and an M.A. from the Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1960.

Known to his friends and family as Dick, he had a long and distinguished career in public service and in the private sector. He proudly worked for the State of New York for 18 years under governors Thomas Dewey, Nelson A. Rockefeller and Malcolm Wilson. He began his career with the Division of the Budget as an intern in 1954. He later moved to Columbus, Ohion to take a position with the Ohio State Legislature, where he met his wife of 52 years, Evelyn L. Lutz.

In September 1957, the couple married and Mr. Dunham took an assignment to serve two years with the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service as a financial advisor to the government of Cambodia. Mr. Dunham returned to Albany to work in the Division of the Budget in 1964. He served as a deputy budget director for Gov. Rockefeller, and served as Director of the Budget from 1971 to 1974. Mr. Dunham was invited by Gov. Rockefeller to join his team in Washington when President Gerald Ford appointed him as Vice President in 1974. Mr. Dunham held the position of deputy director of the White House Domestic Council and in October 1975 was appointed chairman of the Federal Power Commission, known today as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he served under Presidents Ford and Carter until August 1977. He testified before Congress on numerous occasions, including a report concerning the New York City blackout of 1977.

Mr. Dunham was president of H. Zinder & Associates, an economic and regulatory consulting firm in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s. He was asked to provide advice and expertise on the energy/natural gas industry to many corporate boards including the Gas Research Institute, TPI Corporation, and South Jersey Industries. He served on SJI’s Board of Directors for 18 years from 1984 to 2002, and as chairman and acting CEO from 1998-2b00.

After he “retired” at age 70, Mr. Dunham continued to serve as a Board member of the Albany Medical Center Foundation. He established an Endowed Lectureship Fund in his name for the Division of Urology at Albany Medical College. In addition he was a committee member of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, and a member of the Rockefeller College Advisory Board, on which he served from 2003-2008. The State University of New York Rockefeller College of Public Affairs honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service in November 2008.

Mr. Dunham was a devoted husband, wonderful father and grandfather, and friend. He loved the outdoors, especially his “back 40” in Malden Bridge along the Kinderhook Creek. He was an avid downhill skier and hiker in the Adirondacks. Mr. Dunham and his wife traveled the world, visiting more than 30 countries.

Surviving him are his loving family, his wife, Evelyn “Pat” Dunham of Malden Bridge; his two daughters, Jennifer Dunham of Rochester and Marilyn Dunham (Darrell) Fountain of Niskayuna; and his son, David (Tonjia) Dunham of Rochester; six grandchildren, as well as his wife’s twin sister, Dr. Emily E. Lutz of Circleville, Ohio and many other family members.

At his request, there will be no calling hours and burial will be private at the convenience of the family. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 6, at the Malden Bridge Community Center from 3 to 5 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Dunham’s memory may be made to the Columbia Land Conservancy P.O. Box 299/49 Main St. Chatham, NY 12037 or the American Lung Association.

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