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James E. Kunz (Jim)


James E. Kunz (Jim), 75, of New Bern, passed away Jan. 4, 2021, from Covid-19 complications at Carolina EastMedical Center. Born in Troy, OH to James and Helen Hartley Kuntz, Jim grew up in Madison, WI. He loved relating stories about his time in the "Mad City" and summers working at Wisconsin Rapids, helping with his father's forestry research, while living in surplus army tents. Winters he played on hockey teams and in college summers lifeguarded at Nekoosa Lake. He considered himself a lifelong Badger and always cheered for the Green Bay Packers. Jim graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, worked in Admissions there, then entered a graduate program at the University of Iowa. He continued in Admissions at the University of Maine in Augusta, then at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, OH. After years of dedication in admissions/administration, he retired from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, an area known for horse racing and history. His interests and career had complemented each other as he travelled and advised young people planning to enter college. Jim had strong interests in geography, history and a love of travel. Swimming, canoeing and white water rafting were favorite activities. A strong bass, he sang with choruses wherever he lived, and with the Fairfield Harbour Chorus after moving to New Bern. He was a collector of coins and stamps, treasures and junk and could never pass up a good bargain at an auction. Spending time with family, even though far-flung was important. "Uncle Klunk" will be missed at future gatherings, especially when the dominoes come out or the campfire is started. Jim was a strong proponent of conservation, supporting the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation, among many others. Passionate about helping others; he volunteered to tutor youth, delivered Meals on Wheels, and contributed to groups such as Habitat for Humanity and RCS. He also supported Tryon Palace and the Williamsburg Foundation. He was preceded in death by his father and then his mother in late 2020 at the age of 100. He is survived by his two daughters: Kristine Leclerc (Christian) and grandchildren Abigail, Jacob and Matthew; Kimberly Mckee (Christopher) and grandsons Robert and Samuel. He is also survived by his brother David (Patti) of Boulder and sister Patricia of Madison, nephew Jason (Sara) of Seattle and niece Jessica (Joel) CO. He and his wife Leslea were married in Ohio, May 31, 1980. They shared passions for education, traveling, gathering with dear friends, working for the environment, reading and politics, being lifelong Democrats. Jim volunteered and held several positions in the local party. He was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church. Due to the Covid situation, a service to honor Jim will be held in late summer. In the meantime, a zoom gathering is being planned for family and friends to share stories, grief and remembrances,

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