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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

DUNHAM, Daniel

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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

DUNHAM, Daniel. (Aplington, IA, Sept. 10, 1940--Saginaw, MI, Feb. 17, 2023) Dan spent much of his time on his grandfather’s farm hunting and fishing which led to his life-long passion for conservation. He also participated in wrestling and football at the high school and collegiate level. He graduated from West Waterloo High in 1958 and then attended the State College of Iowa from 1958-1963 majoring in physical education and social studies. During college, he was married to Bonnie (Dick) Dunham.

Dan’s teaching career in physical education spanned thirty-six years, starting at Jesup High School, after which he moved to Dubuque and taught at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL and STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL where he was the first head the wrestling program. He received his Master’s Degree in Education, emphasis in Special Education, from LORAS COLLEGE in 1987 and was an advocate for youth with special needs and a volunteer for many Special Olympic events.

During his tenure as head varsity wrestling coach (thirty-five years) Dan mentored forty-eight state medal winners, including seven State Champions. Eight of his wrestlers became NCAA All Americans, and Cliff Moore became a three-time State Champion and NCAA Division I Champion.

His coaching honors included Class 3A State Coach of the Year (1996), Iowa High school Wrestling Hall of Fame (1999), and he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (2012). Dan also served as an Assistant Football Coach for over 30 years. (1) He retired from education in 1999. (2)

Dan's devotion to sports and his compassion for being a youth role model positively impacted the lives of many of his students and athletes. He dedicated his life to volunteering within his community and committed his time to teaching hunter safety (thirty-five years). He was a member of Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League, and Pheasants Forever where he served as the Dubuque Chapter President from 1992-1995. He was inducted into the Pheasants Forever National Hall of Fame (2010) and received the award for the Top 25 Pioneering Volunteers for National Pheasants Forever and twice received the Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award. (3)



1. Obituary, TH Online, February 26, 2023, online: https://www.telegraphherald.com/obituaries/article_c6eb88d8-b1f5-11ed-84a3-bfe1fe9f41cc.html

2. O'Neill, Tim, "Dunham Leaves Impact Well Beyond Mat," Telegraph Herald, February 26, 2023, p. 1B

3. Obituary