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Yale 62

Archibald Robertson 'Pete' Dunning III


Born: June 26, 1939
Died: March 21, 2019

Archibald (Pete) Dunning was born in Winchester, Virginia, son of Archibald Robertson Dunning, ‘29S, and Virginia Jacobs Dunning. His grandfather A. R. Dunning was Yale Class of 1874. Pete prepared for Yale at New Preparatory School (Cambridge, Mass.) and Kent School.

At Yale he was a member of Branford College and majored in American Studies. He was an accomplished horseman and competed on the Yale polo team. He was captain of the team our senior year. Classmate Larry Price remembers that Pete always wore cowboy boots and off the field drove a convertible with the top up, never down for which Pete blamed New Haven weather.

After graduation Pete joined the Navy. He attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. and then served in Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) duty.

Pete married his wife Elizabeth (Liz) MacDonald in 1963 and after his release from the Navy they settled in Clarke County, Virginia, first at Pagebrook in Boyce and in 1970 in Caveland where he resided until his death. After a stint selling life insurance he began his lifelong career in real estate and farming.

An avid outdoorsman, Pete had grown up fox hunting with the Blue Ridge Hunt. He continued to pursue this passion with his wife and daughters. He was an excellent shot and always bagged his limit of dove and quail. Dogs were his sweet spot. He loved his dogs, from his hunting dogs to his Jack Russells to his Rhodesian Ridgebacks. His love of Clarke County was fierce. He was a zealous advocate for land preservation and rural zoning and served on the Clarke County Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission for over two decades. Elizabeth said that “one of his most valuable contributions was the ‘Sliding Scale Zoning’ that he implemented for our small rural county which is now still a small rural county surrounded by tremendous growth.”

His published obituary in the Winchester Star depicted his colorful and very active life: “In politics and other areas where he felt a particular passion Pete was the ultimate bull in a china shop. He prioritized achieving his goals above all else. He was known as ‘the rough guy in the bow tie.’”

He was a prankster at heart and loved sending naughty postcards to friends and family alike. Often he asked out of town visitors to post his cards from other locations to mask his identity as the sender. “Better to ask forgiveness than permission” was his personal motto.

Pete passed away at home at Caveland. He is survived by Liz, his wife of 55 years, his daughters Elizabeth Dunning Mulry, Virginia Dunning Tobeason, Molly Dunning Ohrstrom, and Anne Dunning Izard. Pete was also survived by his younger brother Nick Dunning of Throwleigh Farm; he was predeceased by his brother Tom of Warfield Farm.

Pete was a lifelong member of Christ Church, Millwood. A Memorial Service for him was held there on March 26, 2019. The family requested that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made to the Boyce Volunteer Fire and Rescue organization.

Yale classmate Larry Price and Pete were friends while undergraduates. Larry played on the polo team with him. Larry recalled that he and Pete also ended up together at Navy OCS. Larry and Mrs. Dunning supplied information for this obituary.


R. G. Oliver