James Joseph Kunkel
James "Jim" Kunkel, 80 of Portland passed away Sept. 20th, 2018. Jim was born in Kimball, Minnesota and grew up on a midwest dairy farm with 3 sisters and 7 brothers before graduating high school and heading west to enter the Navy to see the world aboard an aircraft carrier called the Ranger.
After transitioning from working on airplanes in the Navy to civilian life, Jim worked in the electronics and aerospace world doing numerous different jobs from supersonic wind tunnel testing to working on the Atlas nuclear missile program in Roswell, New Mexico at the Walker AFB during the Cuban Missile crisis. After the end of the Atlas Missile Program, Jim moved back to California and went to work for Rockwell Corporation on the Apollo Space program. Jim worked as a test engineer on the Apollo 8 and 11 spacecrafts, one of which carried Neil Armstrong to man's first landing on the surface of the moon. During Jim's time in California, he met his wife Janet who was teaching grade school. After the end of the Apollo Space program, they moved to Portland where they got married in July of 1968. Later Jim graduated from PSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration.
Jim went on to a 40 year career in real estate that included real estate sales, residential land development, new home construction sales, and property management. Jim started his own Real Estate Company in 1985 and continued to work alongside his son Lance for many years.
As a longtime member of NE Portland International, Rotary Jim made many connections in the local business world and was one of Rotary's past chapter presidents. He was also a member of the Oregon Association of Realtors and Portland Board of Realtors.
Jim is survived by his wife Janet, sons Lance Kunkel of Gresham, Dale Kunkel of Mill Valley, California and daughter Jeanine Jones of Dayton, Ohio. They have 5 grandchildren who are all boys.
When time allowed, Jim enjoyed going on trips with his wife Janet to warm climates, to visit his children and go on extended family vacations to Sunriver, Oregon where he golfed, enjoyed the hiking and biking trails and just hung out with his family. Jim and Janet just recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Jim was most known for his never-ending kindness and great sense of humor. Always willing to lend a hand to anyone needing help and always generous with his time and energy. He cherished his good friends, valued his family and always appreciated the opportunity to assist those in need of real estate help or advice. His kind and gentle nature will be missed by all that were fortunate enough to know him. Celebration of life to follow.
Jim and his family would like to extend a special thank you to the incredible doctors (Dr. Rui Li, Dr. Paul Conti and Dr. Andy Mendenhall) along with their extraordinary medical teams and everyone at the Providence Cancer Center Infusion Clinic that helped give Jim the care, strength and support to continue on living a wonderful life for such an extended period of time.