A pioneer in the development of modern-day Sioux Falls is being remembered this week. Don Dunham Jr. died January 12. His memorial service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, at the Washington Pavilion.
“He's one of a half-dozen people you could point to that helped drive this city for the last 40 years,” former Sioux Falls City Planner Steve Metli said.
Metli calls Dunham his friend. The two worked together as the city grew: Metli planned, Dunham built. The relationship wasn’t always smooth.
“When it was all said and done we had the direction we were going. He was a friend,” Metli said.
There are few directions, if any, one can drive in Sioux Falls without seeing something touched by the Dunham Company. That includes thousands of houses, millions of square feet in commercial space, parks and more both on the city's edge and in its core.
During a 2011 KELOLAND News interview, Dunham talked talking about his role in commercial growth along Louise Avenue and his work with the city, including Metli.
“It certainly should be, as Steve Metli said before he left as the planning director, Louise Avenue will be a bigger street than 41st Street. We will see," Dunham said.
Metli remembers Dunham as a passionate guy who put a stamp on a growing community and those who knew him.
“He was most interested in the good of the community and the good of the people that lived in the community,” Metli said.