Madelyn Lee Payne

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Madelyn Dunham
Madelyn Lee Payne

(1922-10-26)October 26, 1922
DiedNovember 2, 2008(2008-11-02) (aged 86)
Resting placePacific Ocean off Koko Head, Oahu, Hawaii
Other names"Toot"
OccupationVice President at the Bank of Hawaii
Known forMaternal grandmother of Barack Obama
Spouse(s)Stanley Armour Dunham (1940–1992)
ChildrenStanley Ann Dunham (1942–1995)
Parent(s)Rolla Charles Payne
and Leona Belle McCurry[1]
RelativesBarack Obama (grandson)
Charles T. Payne (brother)
Michelle Obama (granddaughter-in-law)

Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham (/ˈdʌnəm/ DUN-əm; October 26, 1922[2] – November 2, 2008[3]) was the grandmother of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Her daughter was Obama mother's, Ann Dunham. Madelyn and her husband Stanley Armour Dunham raised Obama from age ten in their apartment in Honolulu, Hawaii. She died[4] two days before her grandson was elected President.

Life[change | change source]

Madelyn Lee Payne was born in Peru, Kansas. She was the eldest of four children. Her younger brother was Charles T. Payne. Their parents were Rolla Charles "R.C." Payne (August 23, 1892 – October 15, 1968)[5] and Leona Belle (McCurry) Payne (May 7, 1897 – March 22, 1968).[6] In Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams From My Father, he describes them as "stern Methodist parents who did not believe in drinking, playing cards or dancing." She moved with her parents to Augusta, Kansas at the age of three. Madelyn was one of the best students at Augusta High School. She graduated from there in 1940.[7]

Death[change | change source]

Madelyn died in Hawaii, on November 2, 2008. It was two days before the presidential election. Obama's campaign team announced that she had died "peacefully" after suffering from cancer.[4] At a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 3, Obama said, "She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America. They're not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard. They aren't seeking [fame]. All they try to do is just do the right thing."[8] Dunham's absentee vote, received by the election office on October 27, was included in Hawaii's total vote count.[9]

A private funeral was held on December 23, 2008, at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu. Obama and his sister Maya scattered their grandmother's ashes in the ocean at Lanai Lookout. It was the same spot where they had scattered their mother's ashes in 1995. Obama was staying at Plantation Estate at the time.[10]

References[change | change source]

  1. Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Barack Obama – Fourth Generation". Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  2. Nakaso, Dan (March 30, 2008). "Obama's tutu a female pioneer in Hawaii banking". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved January 10, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. "Obama's grandmother dies after battle with cancer". CNN. November 3, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Murray, Shailagh (November 3, 2008). "Obama's Grandmother Dies". Washington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  5. "Rolla Charles Payne". January 5, 2009.
  6. "Leona Belle McCurry Payne". January 5, 2009.
  7. "President Obama: From Kansas to the Capital, Part 1-4". Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  8. Zeleny, Jeff (November 3, 2008). "On Eve of Election, Obama Pays Tribute to Grandmother Who Died in Hawaii". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  9. "Vote cast by Barack Obama's grandmother in Hawaii will count, officials say". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. November 5, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  10. Chris Bailey (December 24, 2008). "Obama bids farewell to grandmother on Oahu coast". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved January 10, 2014.