Iowa’s Chuck Dunham R.I.P.

Midwestern letterpress printers may want to know that longtime printer, former traveling Linotype operator, newspaper publisher and equipment dealer Chuck Dunham of Deep River, Iowa died at home on March 30. A colorful (to say the least) character, Chuck and his son Roy supplied many regional printers with presses, type, paper cutters and parts. In decades past he saved countless letterpress items, especially Linotypes, finding homes for them in Mexico and Asia. Sadly, another of the old guard is gone.

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Chuck’s obituary is below for those interested:

Charles Vernon Dunham, 89, of Deep River died at his home Friday, March 30, 2018. Services will be Thursday, April 12, 2018 at Holland - Coble Funeral Home Montezuma, at 10:30 a.m. Charles had donated his body to the University of Iowa Hospital. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Chuck’s honor to P.A.L.S. Animal Shelter, Grinnell or Steven Animal Shelter, Oskaloosa.

Chuck was born March 23, 1929 in Scotia, N.Y. to Roy Owen Dunham and Elodie Johnson Dunham. He was the fourth of five children, Richard, Jane, Robin, Charles and Sylvia. He graduated from Scotia High School at age sixteen and studied at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. During the Korean War he was drafted and served in the U.S. Army from 1951 until 1952, including a tour of duty in occupied Germany. Following Army duty, he purchased the Grayson County News in Leitchfield, KY., the first of 22 newspapers published by the Dunham family, often as many as five at a time. In 1958, Chuck acquired the Deep River Record, and from Deep River he continued a 50 plus year career with weekly newspapers. In 1971 he and Shirley Richardson-Thompson were married and he became the father of a readymade family of a wife and four little boys. In October of 1972, Chuck and Shirley became parents of another little boy, Roy Christopher. They made their home in Deep River, celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary November 2, 2017. Chuck was political junkie, running for senator on the Republican ticket twice. He was a member of the Deep River Methodist Church, Lions Club, Republican Party and Deep River American Legion. The Dunham family loved camping in the Adirondacks Mountains and spent many summer vacations there.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Jane Linck of New York, and Sylvia Smith of Connecticut.

Survivors include his wife Shirley and son Roy of Deep River, sons Dave (Julie) Thompson of Davenport; Kenny (Tammy) Thompson of Concord, AR; Brian Thompson of Concord, AR,. Jeff (Julie) Thompson of Webster, sister Sylvia Bouve of NH, seven grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Thought some may enjoy this picture.
I snapped it at Printers Fair 2017.

image: IMG_6300.PNG


Chuck was an amazing man….rumor has it the soles of his shoes were .918” high, and his ring size was .918. Letterpress and newspaper printing was his whole life. We will miss him for sure!!!!!

This video is about 10 years old and was taking just after we got the Babcock printing press at Printers Hall running with a real steam engine. I remember this day well when Chuck showed up and asked to climb up and feed paper into it. This is when you stop, watch, listen and learn from an expert. I’m the one in the sleeveless shirt watching and learning!!! This was for sure Chuck’s Happy Spot!!!! Honored to have known him!!!!

Steve Alt - Liberty Press

Yes, That video was one I shot and loaded to YouTube after the event. It was amazing to see the press in action, and the technique of the hand feeding.

Chuck and son have done a great job of supplying parts and pieces to the Midwest printers for many years. When I was in college at the Univ. of Iowa in 1971, The Journalism department head said I could try and get the Linotype running (even gave me some budget money) and Chuck provided a cam lever or something to get it rolling again. I also bought, at the same time, a five-gallon bucket which contained a full range of Caslon Oldstyle which took me the best part of a winter to sort (yes, I should have been studying instead). There were al sorts of goodies stored away in Deep River, Iowa.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Nice video John, somehow I have missed that previously. To me the Babcock is a lot more fascinating to watch than.the Miehle which gets used now.
The steam power is an extra.