The Legacy of Bob Dunham

Dunham Family Foundation gives back to the community


by Sheilah Y. Prevost & Lauren Gooch - October 27, 2020

Robert Nickerson Dunham, well-known and highly respected Wellsboro businessman and owner of Dunham’s Furniture store, has bequeathed a generous legacy to Wellsboro and Tioga County in his will by establishing The Dunham Family Foundation. The Dunham Family Foundation is created with the broad purpose to benefit religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational organizations within the geographic areas of the Borough of Wellsboro and Townships of Charleston and Delmar.

The Foundation is a testament to Bob’s generosity and his lifelong love for Wellsboro. He established the Foundation in honor of his grandparents, Roy J. and Fannie Treat Dunham; his parents, Frank L. and Mercedes N. Dunham and his brothers, R. James Dunham II and John F. Dunham.

Ellen Dunham Bryant chairs the Foundation. Ann Dunham Rawson, R. James Dunham, III, R. Lowell Coolidge, Eugene Seelye and Sheilah Y. Prevost are trustees.

When Bob’s nieces, Ellen Dunham Bryant and Ann Dunham Rawson, found out about this Foundation after his death in 2017, they were very surprised, but in a good way!

“We were very touched because it’s something that he was uniquely situated to do because he didn’t have any children of his own and was able to use what he had been able to use in his lifetime to benefit others,” Ellen said.

Those who knew Bob appreciated that he was a talented and accomplished musician who shared his talents with the community and area churches throughout his life. Many did not know, however, that he was also deeply committed to helping homeless in the area and that he quietly gave to various area homelessness initiatives. In addition, Bob anonymously helped many in need with gifts of furniture and other household goods. He also really enjoyed horses and other animals. While the scope of the Foundation is broad, the trustees will give special consideration to those causes that Bob championed.

“Our family business has been here for 115 years,” said Ann, “so it’s a great opportunity for us as a family to be able to thank the community, but also keep his legacy alive for the things he held dear.”

The Foundation is set up to provide funds for many years, and this is the first year they are able to make disbursements. The deadline for this year is November 6, 2020. To qualify, applicants must be a 501c3 organization in the Borough of Wellsboro or Townships of Charleston and Delmar. As stated previously, the scope of the foundation is broad, but special consideration will be given to those causes to which Bob was committed. Applications are available at the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 114 Main St. Wellsboro, PA. You may either submit the application to Holly Young, Wealth Management Group, C&N Bank (90 Main Street, Wellsboro, PA), or to the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce.


Videography: Ethan Chabala

Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Writing: Sheilah Y. Prevost & Lauren Gooch

Anchor: Lauren Gooch


Produced by Vogt Media

Funded by Dunham’s Dept Store, Penn Wells Hotel / Lodge

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