Lewis Leroy Dunnington was a Methodist minister for most of his life serving churches in the upper Midwest. So how did he end up in Moscow days before the Russian Revolution in 1917? What was he doing in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, two weeks before Hitler invaded Poland?

I ask these questions because Lewis Dunnington was also my grandfather.

I got to hear some of his stories when we were together during holidays and vacations, but he died in 1972. I regret never having the opportunity to speak with him as an adult.

Fortunately, he left behind an unpublished autobiography (“The Light That Did Not Fail”) along with a wealth of newspaper clippings, many of them stories he wrote himself, and astonishing photographs. I was able to use these sources and other research to try to answer how Lewis Dunnington’s journey took him halfway around the world, where he personally witnessed two pivotal moments in 20th century history.

On this site, (under the “Journeys” tab above or by clicking photos to your right) you will find pages related to his time in 1917 Russia, another to his 1939 trip to Czechoslovakia, and a third that gives a broader description of the life that surrounded these adventures (the Rest of the Story.) I’ve included access to his autobiography “The Light That Did Not Fail,”and even some sound clips of his church sermons from the 1950’s broadcast on the radio.

Lew’s life was full of accomplishments, contradictions and questions: here are some of the answers.

lewis dunnington



lewis dunnington biography