Skip to comments.Maumelle Couple Excited About Their Nephew's New Job: President-Elect
Posted on 01/11/2009 3:56:51 PM PST by Chief Engineer
By Bill Lawson \ Staff Writer \ firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:04 PM CST
Virginia Goeldner of Maumelle said when her nephew was elected to the U.S. Senate, she knew he would someday run for president she just didnt expect it this soon.
But on Jan. 20, 2009, Virginia or Ginny and her husband of 51 years, Cecil, will be in Washington D.C. for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
Both Goeldners said the reaction has been mixed when they tell people the next president is their nephew her great-nephew to be exact. The new presidents grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was Ginnys brother. It was Stanleys wife, Madelyn, who was the grandmother who died the day before the election. But Goeldner said her sister-in-law was able to vote for her grandson through early voting, so her vote counted in the election that swept her grandson into office.
Goeldner said her sister-in-law actually raised Barrack Obama, or Barry as they called him, when he was young, after his mother died in 1970.
Cecil Goeldner said his family lived on a farm near the Wichita, Kan., airport for at least three generations and while he was attending Wichita State College, a friend of his introduced him to a fellow student and the next presidents great aunt and theyve been together ever since. The Goeldners married in 1957 and began their journey together that led them to Indiana, Michigan and then to Arkansas in 1986. Cecil Goeldner worked for Boeing for years near his Wichita farm. He said he became interested in computers in the early 1960s and became a computer programmer. In fact it was computers, or the former Alltel division once known as Systematics, that brought them to Arkansas.
Virginias other brother, Ralph, still lives in the Washington area in a Virginia suburb. She said Obamas younger half-sister, Maya, stayed with him when Barack was sworn in as a member of the U.S. Senate two years ago. She said Ralph is named after their father, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham, who lived in Kansas from his birth in 1895 to 1970 when he died. Obamas grandfather, Stanley, left Kansas and moved to Texas and it was in the Seattle area where his mother Stanley Ann Dunham, was born.
Virginia said her niece, who was called Ann, was actually named after her father because he wanted a boy so badly he named her Stanley before she was born. She said that throughout her life she went by her middle name of Ann.
When Ann died at an early age, it was Virginias brother and sister-in-law who raised the future president.
Stanley, Obamas grandfather, worked as a furniture dealer in Hawaii, where the family migrated from Seattle. Obamas grandmother, Madelyn, was a top loan officer with the Bank of Hawaii.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham and Marthamae Dunham are Virginia Goeldners parents and Barack Obamas great-grandparents.
Ralph W. E. Dunham had two sons and two daughters: Ralph Emerson Dunham, who still lives in Washington area; Stanley Armour Dunham, who was Barack Obamas grandfather, who died in 1982; Eleanor Bell Dunham Berkebile, Virginias sister who died in 2004; and Virginia May Dunham Goeldner of Maumelle, who is Barack Obamas great-aunt.
Virginia said when she first told people in Maumelle that Obama was her nephew, many were stunned.
Youre kidding? was the most common response she received, she said, although others were eager to learn more and many thought she was kidding. She said since most people think of Obamas birthplace of Hawaii as his home, they are surprised to learn she really is his relative.
Virginia said she was sure the race of her nephew plays a role in some of those surprises. She pointed out that all people are a mixture of several races and that it wasnt too long ago in this country that her grandmother, who was Irish, also was considered a different race and was the victim of discrimination.
Virginia said she didnt know Barack Obama Sr. well because he didnt spend much time here. She said he and Ann divorced when Barack was 2 years old.
The Goeldners already have bought airline tickets and plan on spending 10 days in Washington in January. They said they hope to be able to get tickets to the inauguration, an inaugural ball and to many of the activities during that celebration. She said other members of her extended family also would be making the journey to the nations capitol.
She said she knew her nephew would be busy, but she hoped to catch a glimpse of his new home, the White House.
The Goeldners said they left Michigan to get away from the snow and fell in love with Arkansas, especially Maumelle.
Because they left Kansas for Indiana in 1976, they said they didnt get to see her brother as often as they liked, but they did visit him in Hawaii, where several of the accompanying photos were taken.
Stanley and his brother Ralph were both World War II veterans who landed in France on D-Day in 1944. Although they both were a part of the invasion, they didnt know exactly where the other was until a chance meeting on the streets of Paris, Goeldner said. She said her father, Stanley, who was born in 1918, wouldnt talk much about his Army service other than to laugh about that meeting with his brother in Paris.
Whod think that two young soldier brothers from Wichita would run into each other in the middle of a war on the streets of Paris, she said.
Stanley and Madelyn were married in 1940 before he left for the war.
Her uncle Ralph, who is still alive, worked for years at the Pentagon, where he was a professor teaching and writing books. She said he also kept a low profile about his Army service and wouldnt talk about it much. She said he recently moved into a retirement home in Virginia.
Stanley Ann Dunham, the president-elects mother, graduated from high school in Seattle and earned a doctorate from the University of Hawaii, where she met Barack Obama Sr.
Goeldner said her niece was a social anthropologist.
She would light up the room, Goeldner said. You knew she was someone special.
She was wrapped up in her work and had a strong interest in other cultures and people, even in high school, she said.
After she and Obama Sr. divorced when the future president-elect was just a couple of years old, she married a Hawaiian and gave birth to the president-elects half sister, Maya.
Ann moved to Indonesia when her second husband got a job as a government relations consultant and she worked in her profession, Goeldner said.
Barack Obama Sr. married again and moved back home to Kenya, where he was killed in an automobile accident.
Goeldner said she told only a few close friends about her nephew, for fear that someone might do something that would hurt his chances to get elected. Now that the story is getting out, she said, residents of Maumelle are usually surprised, but the response has been mostly positive.
She said a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times tracked her down two years ago while the paper was doing background research on Obama.
Goeldner said that she was proud of her nephew and that she could see so much of his mother in him. She said her brother and her sister-in-law, Obamas grandparents, were well-educated and sophisticated people and she could see where he got his intelligence. She also pointed out that Obamas father was very smart and attended Harvard, like his son.
She said she sees a very humble side to her nephew and added that shes glad to see him embrace his heritage and all his ancestors.
Its true that her grandmother came from Ireland, but the Dunhams came from England, Goeldner said.
She said she didnt expect Obama to run for president this year because he was up against some heavy competition.
Both from the Clinton machine and from McCain, she said. I didnt know if hed make it or not. But Im kinda glad he did.
Both Goeldners are busy making plans for their January trip, already planning what theyll wear to what event.
Its a once in a lifetime opportunity and they both plan to enjoy it as much as they can.
How often do you get to see your nephew sworn in as president? Goeldner asked.
Think I'll stop now.
Don’t stop before telling me where Maumelle is! I just really have to know—LOL!
fictional biography award contestant
Only Maumelle I know of is the Little Rock suburb.
Arkansas, where else. LOL
ROFLMAO That’s not fair! I meant factual errors, but hey why would Democrats ever base anything on facts! I do wonder if a moose bit Stanley Armour Dunham’s sister. That story would be hugh, and completely series!
I think it's fitting that the Obammy has relatives, there.
That story took a lot of soap...
The next bailout will be the suds industry...
Ann Dunham died in 1995, not 1970; she married an Indonesian, Lolo Soetoro, not a Hawaiin; those two came to mind pretty quickly. Probably lots more...
It's rather amazing. It took me about 8 seconds to google that; what cave does this idiot reporter live in?
He must live in a cave with no internet access! I couldn’t believe the story when I found it. It seems the white relatives are now coming out of the woodwork and the Jr worshiping media aren’t making sure they do due diligence before publishing the story!
Well that article is good for a couple of gallons of soap!
At first glance ,I thought the title was a Mau Mau couple.
I think his mother died several years later.
This poor little woman has to be in her eighties and I think should have been invited as his family to all activities---as payment for being kin to him!
She was the daughter of Stanley Armour Dunham’s father’s marriage to another woman after Ruth Dunham committed suicide in 1926. Stanley Armour Dunham and his brother, Ralph, lived with their father’s parents until he remarried. She is in her early 70’s at most. Notice she attended College and then married in 1957.
Jr’s mother Ann died November 7, 1995 not in 1970 as the story mentioned.
there are no 'accompanying photo's' and the one and only image with the article is captioned as a High School Photo - which, IIRC was taken when obama was at Columbia...where out of 400 'classmates' no one contacted remembers him... If Stanley Ann died in 1970, who was it that obama was photographed with at an airport in 1971? It's a real shock to hear Stanley Ann died in the same year that Maya was born...
I thought it was a village in Kenya
I noticed the comment about the accompanying photos and the incorrect caption for the Columbia photo as well, or is that photo one of Jr when he began attending Harvard? He seems quite mature in that photo. It definitely shows what people are up against when they are doing research on this convoluted family! I did find a 2007 article which I will post a link to here about Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham Sr.
Here is the link to the Dunham Sr story that was in the Chicago Sun Times in 2007.
From the picture with the article Stanley Armour Dunham didn’t take after his father.
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