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Leo B. Kunkel Jr.




Born: 1925

Death: May 05, 2008

KUNKEL – Leo B. Kunkel Jr., 83 years old of Grand Rapids died on May 5th at Porter Hills Health Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 Noon on May 9 at St. Stephen Church 745 Rosewood SE East Grand Rapids. Visitation will be from 11:00 to 12:00 at church. A prayer service and burial will be held at on Saturday at Hickory Bluff Cemetery 4290 Cleveland Avenue Stevensville. Leo was born on December 1 1924 in New York New York. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1948 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. His university education was interrupted by military service during World War II. After completing the Notre Dame V12 Naval Officer Training Program and Columbia’s Midshipmen’s School he became a Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy (a 90 day-wonder) and served on a sub chaser in the Pacific in 1945. After the war ended he returned to Notre Dame to finish his degree and met the love of his life Betty Kershaw a student at St. Mary’s College across the road. They were married in November 1948 and enjoyed more than 52 years of marriage before Betty’s death in 2000. Much of his life was devoted to being a loving father and ample provider for their seven children. Leo started his business career in management for a subsidiary of Schlumberger Ltd. And EMR in Princeton Junction New Jersey. Later he was promoted and transferred to Heath Company which was subsequently acquired by Zenith Data Systems in St. Joseph Michigan where he served as Vice President of Operations. After his retirement he remained intellectually sharp through the management of mineral interests and various other investments. He was a passionate fan of Notre Dame athletic teams and his favorite baseball team the Boston Red Sox. He also enjoyed an active life playing golf frequently. Throughout his life Leo was a philanthropist who generously funded the education of his large family and supported his community. An avid reader he developed considerable expertise on the history of World War II and also loved to visit with his extended family and friends. He was an inspiration to all who knew him. Survivors include: his daughter Jean Davidson of Atherton California; his son Bob Kunkel of Howell New Jersey; his son Steve Kunkel of Los Angeles California; his daughter Sue Kunkel of Hooksett New Hampshire; his daughter Cathy Forslund of East Grand Rapids; his son John Kunkel of Solon Ohio (formerly of Rockford); nineteen grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a large extended family. Leo was preceded in death by his wife Betty Kunkel; his oldest son Jim Kunkel and his granddaughter Mandee Kunkel. Memorial donations may be made to the Readiness Center P.O. Box 1352 Benton Harbor MI 49023 or to the STAR FUND at St. Stephen Catholic Church 750 Gladstone SE East Grand Rapids MI 49506.

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