William M. Kunkle
Wed, 11/01/2017 - 9:20am admin
William Montrose Kunkle died Sunday, Oct. 8, in Eugene, Ore. All of his children, their spouses, one grandson and the love of his life, Marvel, his wife of 75 years, were all with him when he died. He was 92.
William (Bill) Kunkle was born March 3, 1925 in Philip, S.D., to Montrose and Esther (Lake) Kunkle. Bill was the oldest of three children, brother Ronald and sister Marjorie have both preceded him in death.
Bill grew up in western South Dakota, primarily in the Black Hills, graduating from Pierre High School. He met his wife, Marvel in Yankton, S.D., when he was 17 and she was 16. They were married three months later on Dec. 26, 1942.
Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 where he was a medical corpsman stationed at Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital during World War II. He had initially joined the Marines but had to leave because he was too young. Following the military, he attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Later, Bill worked as a Clay County deputy sheriff and South Dakota state highway patrolman.
Bill and Marvel left South Dakota in 1956, and headed west living in Montana before settling in Oregon in 1958, making Eugene their home in 1965.
Upon moving to Eugene he went to work at United Pacific/Reliance Insurance as a special claims investigator/field adjustor until retirement.
Throughout his career and well beyond retirement, Bill pursued his passion as a multi-faceted photographer. Along with photography, he was a freelance journalist for many publications, including the Catholic Sentinel. A few of his fondest memories include his interview with Pancho Villa's widow and having the honor to photograph and chauffeur John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail for presidency. He also won a federal arts grant to do an exhibit on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
He is survived by his wife, Marvel; four sons, Joe, Mike, twins Tom and Ted; and one daughter, Kimberly; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
A son, John, and a grandchild preceded him in death.
With respect for Bill's wishes, no funeral service will be held. A private service is planned for a later date at Willamette National Cemetery.