Farming Rural 17

Bud Dunning

December 28, 1924 ~ May 5, 2020 (age 95)


Lorne Tyler “Bud” Dunning was born to Lorne Tyler Dunning Sr. and Marguerite “Mar” Linder Dunning on December 28, 1924 in Ellensburg. His ties to the Kittitas Valley are strong and deep and go back to the early 1880’s when his great grandparents rode in on horses to establish their homes.  He passed away peacefully at his home of 70 years on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

Bud remembered riding his tricycle from his home on the corner of 11th and A, down to Webster’s Café.  Kids would go out in the morning and come back for lunch and no one worried back then.  He often rode his bike to Reecer Creek and rode home with a string of fish hanging from the handlebars.  He and his friends ice-skated on Mill Pond at the Milwaukee Railroad tracks.

In 1943, while attending his first quarter of college at Central, Bud was drafted into the U.S. Army and became part of the 66th Infantry (Black Panther) Division in Camp Rooker, Alabama.  Shortly before his unit was deployed overseas, he developed rheumatic fever and spent 18 months in the hospital before receiving an honorable discharge on December 29, 1945.  He attended Seattle University and later transferred to Washington State University majoring in Agronomy. 

He met Jeanne Marie Nelson at Webster’s Café, and he must have looked mighty handsome in his Army uniform to attract such a pretty young woman.  They married August 17, 1949 at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church.

For thirty years working with the Kittitas County Soil Conservation Service, Bud assisted local farmers and ranchers with soil and water conservation efforts and dealt with issues as they affected the surrounding forests, rangeland and irrigated lands.  He believed farmers to be the best conservationists.  Part of his job included snow shoeing miles up the Naneum to measure snow depths.  When offered promotions which required relocation he’d respond, “Why would I move there?  I have everything here in the valley.”  He milked cows and sold milk to the dairy, hauled hay, fed cattle, irrigated and had other side jobs to help provide for his family.

He served on many boards and committees, including the Fairview Volunteer Fire Department.

After retiring from the SCS, Bud helped his father-in-law, Paul Nelson, with his cattle operations, raised hay, and spent many hours taking care of the Pope Ranch which formerly belonged to relatives Gil and Lily Pope.

One of his lifetime accomplishments was building the family log cabin.  He felled trees, cut the logs, peeled the bark with shovels and split wood shakes with an axe.   It was a large undertaking, but he was determined.  The cabin has hosted five generations of family and friends for birthday gatherings, weddings, Thanksgivings, hunting camps, and Christmas tree excursions. 

He deeply loved and admired his wife, Jeanne, and they were blessed with 70 years of marriage.  Family activities included picnics, camping, raising 4-H steers, Fairview community events such as the annual 4th of July picnic and Christmas party.   An avid hunter and fisherman, he passed on his love of the outdoors to his children and grandchildren. He had a dry sense of humor, was humble, and was a man of his word.

In addition to his wife Jeanne, Bud is survived by his son, Jeffrey Lorne Dunning, his four daughters, Paula (Don) Mays, Teresa (Jack) Buchanan, Maureen (Gary McCullough) Grant, and Melinda (Allan Charlton) Dunning. He’s also survived by 17 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren, brothers Paul Dunning and Mike Dunning, a sister Mary Jane Bryant and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathleen Anne “Katie” Hobbs and a sister Marguerite “Peg” Sanders.  A graveside service with his immediate family was held Friday at Holy Cross Cemetery and a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions in Bud’s honor are suggested to a charity of the donor’s choice.  Steward & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Bud’s family.  Online condolences may be left at

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