Deceased March 16, 2015
John B. Kunz—naval aviator, businessmen and devoted community leader—died on March 16 in his hometown of Huntingdon, Pa., at the age of 83.
John prepared for Amherst at Loomis Institute in Windsor, Conn. On campus, he was president of Chi Psi and a key member of the wrestling team.
After graduation John became a naval jet pilot, training for atomic weapons missions, serving on the supercarrier USS Forestall and experiencing a near-death event. John was flying in formation when another plane touched his, throwing him off-course and putting him in danger. John managed to eject and land safely in a farm field.
Subsequently, John earned an M.B.A. from Harvard, was recalled for naval service, worked two years in technical sales for a chemical company and returned to Huntingdon in 1962 to begin a 36-year management stint with the family business, a specialty printing and binding company founded by his grandfather. He was president for his last eight years with the firm.
John was involved in many community activities, but his main contribution was leading the J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, described by his widow, Mary, as “central to his life” in Huntingdon. John took special interest in recruiting young doctors to ensure continual excellence in a small-city health facility. John was vice president of the board of trustees for five years and chairman for 16. Mary said John “worked tirelessly to build bridges and strengthen relationships among hospital constituencies.”
Fraternity brother Reid Spencer ’53 recalled that John had a wry sense of humor: “He always had something funny to say. He was an upbeat guy.”
Besides Mary, John is survived by a son, David; his wife, Susan; and two granddaughters.
George Gates ’53