TRAVERSE CITY — Donald Paul Kunkel, 78, of Traverse City, passed away Friday, March 28, 2014, at Munson Hospice House surrounded by his family. Donald was born on Friday, Aug. 30, 1935, to the late George and Ruby (Murphy) Kunkel in Detroit.
Following graduation from high school Don honorably served our country in the U.S. Army from 1953 until 1955.
On Saturday, June 14, 1958, he married the former Elizabeth Theresa Baidas in Dearborn, which resulted in a dedicated friendship and union that has spanned nearly 56 years.
Don and Betty purchased the S & S Grocery in Acme in 1971 and moved their young family to this area. After the sale of the grocery Don formed DBK Auto and Janitorial Supply and became known as the “Broom Man of the North.” Don was well respected by his loyal customers, and he was equally loyal to them. After he sold his business he worked for the Auto Service Center, Art’s Auto Electric and Traverse Motors.
He was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and was a member of their men’s club and an usher. Don was also a member of NRA.
He enjoyed any kind of sports (his TV was never changed from ESPN), playing golf, bike riding, walking his dog, Max, fishing and travel. He also was a devoted NASCAR fan and loved going to the track. Don will always be remembered for his kindness, his commitment to his family and customers and for his ability to always remember and share a joke.
Don is survived by his wife, Betty; children, Debbie (John) Loveridge Kunkel, of Denver, Colo., and Jeffrey (Barbara) Kunkel, of Lansing.
Don was preceded in death by his son, Michael; his parents; his brother, Larry; and his sister, Nancy Geer.
Visitation for Don will take place Monday, March 31, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at The Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, with the rosary being prayed at 7 p.m., led by Deacon Rene Hoenscheid. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 1, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, with the Rev. Fr. James Hayden, the Rev. Fr. Anthony Citro and Deacon Rene Hoenscheid presiding. Burial will be in Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.