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Helen Dunkum

No services will be held for Helen Thorpe Dunkum, who died July 8 at home in Grass Valley in the presence of family. Mrs. Dunkum passed after a long battle with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological disorder. She was 82.

Mrs. Dunkum was born Jan. 25, 1925, to Harry Edward Thorpe and Clara May “Brownie” Bennett Thorpe in Berkeley. She attended public school in Berkeley and graduated from Berkeley High School, where she was active in band and orchestra and participated in many musical productions. She later earned her A.A. and teaching credentials in early childhood education from Contra Costa College.

On Jan. 19, 1946, she married William Edward Dunkum in Berkeley.



Mrs. Dunkum enjoyed teaching preschool in the Bay Area and Nevada County, as well as her volunteer work at Echo Ridge School. She was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was active in Dorcas (a community outreach program that distributes clothes) and the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls. In her free moments, she enjoyed collecting tiger memorabilia and stamps, music, camping (especially in the redwoods), hiking, swimming, fly-fishing, water-skiing, riding her motorcycle, being in the outdoors and warm-water fitness. Most of all, she enjoyed being with family and friends.

Mrs. Dunkum is survived by her husband, William Edward Dunkum of Grass Valley; son and daughter-in-law, William Edward “George” Dunkum and Asa Dunkum of Orangevale; daughter and son-in-law, Linda de Gadea and V.H. Martin Gadea Sr. of Ukiah; grandson and wife, V.H. Martin Gadea Jr. and Magdalena Gadea of Eureka; granddaughter and husband, Diana and Jared Kurtz of Samoa; sister, Norma Cantin of Sonora; niece and spouse, Robin and Dr. James Ronan of Soulsbyville and their children and grandchildren; and nephew, Eugene Cantin of San Rafael. She was preceded in death by her father, Harry Edward Thorpe, in 1962, and Clara M. “Brownie” Thorpe in 1995.




Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of the Foothills, 2399 Nevada City Highway, Grass Valley, CA 95945, or to your favorite charity.

Arrangements are under the direction of Hooper and Weaver Mortuary.


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