Henry Kunkel, 67 1/2, Tustin, Calif.

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2005

A 32 year resident of Tustin, Calif., Major Henry &uot;Hank&uot; Kunkel, age 67 1/2 years, passed away from heart failure at his home in Tustin on April 19, 2005. He was born in Albert Lea on Oct. 7, 1937.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Marine Corps June 3, 1959, at college graduation. He was a 23-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, having primarily flown the A4-D Skyhawk fixed wing jet and the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter in the skies of the U.S.A., the Caribbean, and in Far East Asian, including Japan. He was a CH-46 Test Pilot from the aircraft’s earliest days. He was qualified for day and night aircraft carrier landings with fixed wing and helicopters. He served as Executive and Commanding Officer of HMM-161, the oldest Marine Corps helicopter squadron, based in the &uot;old north blimp hangar&uot; at MCAS Tustin, 1974-1977. He served four 13-month overseas tours in the countries of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam in 1966.

Following retirement from MCAS Tustin on June 30, 1979, he worked for local computer and aerospace firms including Parker Bertea-Hannifin, Sony Transcom, and Troy, as a technical writer. He wrote manuals for the U.S. Government’s &uot;Paper Check Writing Program&uot; while at Troy and for the infancy stage of digital photo technology while at Sony Transcom.

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He was a substitute teacher for the Santa Ana California United School District for seven years, at the intermediate and high school levels. His daughters, Susan and Tracy, graduated from Tustin High School. Fifty years ago, he graduated from Parker High School, S.D., with the class of 1955. He earned an athletic scholarship to college. He played starting line up during eight years of football, and four years of basketball and participated in three years of track. He attained a B.S. in Education from South Dakota state in 1959; a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Monterey Postgraduate School, California, 1970, an M.S. in Technical Data Management, West Coast University, California, 1986.

He was an avid Toastmaster. He was instrumental in starting numerous Toastmasters Clubs at Orange County businesses. He served as Founder’s District Governor, 1996-97. He earned Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and was honored as Founder’s District Toastmaster of the Year in 1990 and received the coveted Gene Beckwith Memorial Award for service to the District in 2002. He was guest speaker at the City of Buena Park California’s 17th Annual Memorial Day Services, May, 1998.

He grew up on the farm in South Dakota, where he began driving tractor in the corn, oats, and

hay fields at the age of 10. He earned much of his college tuition &uot;throwing&uot; hay and straw bales for Turner County, South Dakota farmers. He was a 4-H member.

Maj. Kunkel is survived by his wife of 46 1/2 years, Shirley (Dice) Kunkel of Tustin, Calif.; their daughters and husbands, Susan and Dennis Bideshi of Corona, Calif., and Tracy and Steven Scott of Tustin, Calif.; five grandchildren: Amy, Jonathan, Micah Bideshi; Stephanie, Melissa Scott; two step-grandchildren, Christopher and Allison Scott of Lake Forest, Calif.; two sisters; Laetitia Ann Jergenson of Albert Lea, Minn. and Elizabeth &uot;Betty Lou&uot; Mitchell of Nampa, Idaho; 12

nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Abraham and Alma Jane Kunkel. His religious affiliation was Mennonite, Methodist, and Dutch Reform. The family may be reached at 13072 Dean St., Tustin, CA 92780.

Services were held at Saddleback Chapel and Grace Harbor Church in Tustin on April 25 and 26, 2005. His interment was in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, Calif., with full military honors on April 26, 2005.