Edgar Clesson Dunning was born in Elbow, Saskatchewan, January 7, 1910, the eldest of three sons of Vincent Clesson Dunning and Gertrude Agnes (Hastey) Dunning. Edgar's brothers are Winston Eric (1912 - 1971) and William Abijah (1914 - 2003). In 1922, the Dunning family moved to Ladner where Vincent Dunning, a printer by trade, started a newspaper, the Weekly Optimist. Mr. Dunning went to California the following year, but Gertrude and her sons stayed in Ladner and continued to publish the Optimist. Edgar acted as the editor of the paper from 1935 to 1942, taking over as publisher from Gertrude in 1942. The award winning Delta Optimist became the premier community paper of Delta. Edgar acted as reporter, editor, and photographer for the paper, and expanded the operation into the printing business. He held the position of publisher until 1964 and then acted as co-publisher from 1964 to 1980 when a half interest in the paper was sold to E.G. Bexley. The Bexley family purchased the remaining shares in January 1983. The Delta Optimist now publishes as part of the Can West Company.
Edgar Dunning has always been active in the community life of Delta, his long association with the Optimist giving him a perfect vantage point for observing Delta events. He was a founding member of the Kinsmen Club of Ladner (1935), the Delta Community Band Society (1964), and the Delta Historical and Museum Society (1969). He has served on the executives of the Delta Board of Trade, Beach Grove Golf Club, Delta Memorial Park Association, and the Ladner Business Association, and has been a member of such fraternal organizations as the Elks, Odd Fellows, and the Masons. Edgar has the distinction of serving on every Delta committee organized to mark national, provincial and municipal centennials. An alumnus of King George V High School in Ladner, Edgar has been instrumental in organizing reunions of the "Ex High Club". Edgar was also an active member of the British Columbia Weekly Newspapers' Association and the Canadian Weekly Newspapers Association, serving as the youngest president of the former in 1941. In 1961, Edgar was appointed editor of the Pacific Region edition of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) radio program "Neighbourly News," for which he created broadcasts for the next 26 years.
After retiring from the news business, Edgar returned to writing columns for local Delta papers, starting the Rambling column in 1989 and writing a series on the old homes of Delta in 1991. He has authored many articles, and collaborated on books, about Delta's history, and continues to actively promote the preservation and appreciation of the history of Delta. In his ninth decade Edgar continued to contribute to the community through his activities in community associations, notably as a commissioner on the Delta Heritage Advisory Commission and as director of the Burns Bog Conservation Society.
Edgar Dunning married Elsie Maria Bowing (1916 - 1998) in 1942. Elsie was the youngest daughter of Westham Island pioneers, Herman and Elvira Bowing. Edgar and Elsie had two children, Susan Elvira (Douglas) Darlington, and Gene Lindsay (Jane) Dunning.
Edgar died at the age of 100 yrs on October 23, 2010. Up until his death in 2010, Edgar was still writing his 'Rambling' editorial column for the Delta Optimist Newspaper.