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Edmund William "Bill" Hunke


1924 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Edmund William "Bill" Hunke Obituary
Hunke, Edmund William "Bill"
Dr. Edmund William ("Bill") Hunke, Jr., 92, passed away Monday, October 31, 2016 at his residence in Sun Lakes, AZ, following a period of illness. Born in Taylor, TX on September 22, 1924, Bill was the son of Edmund William Hunke and Clare Lucille Holding Hunke. After the Hunke family bakery in Taylor burned in 1932, Bill's family moved to Waco (near Baylor University) where he graduated from Waco High School in 1942. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Bill volunteered to serve in both the US Army and US Air Force and was accepted by both branches. While in the service, he studied electronics and engineering in Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois, and was eventually sent to California to learn aircraft mechanics. While serving as a mechanic for P-38, B-25, P-51, and P-61 aircraft at Hammer Field in Fresno, he met his future wife, Naomi Ruth Savage, daughter of Dixie B. Savage and Rebecca Roberts Savage. Bill and Naomi were married August 29, 1946 in Fresno. After the war, Bill graduated from Pacific Bible Institute, earned a bachelor's degree from Fresno State University, and graduated from Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. Bill began his lifelong commitment as a Baptist minister in California and Utah, where his three children were born. In 1955 Bill moved his family to Casa Grande, Mesa, and then Phoenix, AZ, where he served as the Missions Director of the Arizona Baptist Convention, and later helped establish the Southern Baptist Conventions in Utah-Idaho and Nevada. While in Phoenix, Bill completed his PhD program in Education at Arizona State University. In 1966 Bill moved his family to Anchorage where he accepted the position of Executive Secretary of the Alaska Baptist Convention. In 1971, Bill again moved his family to Atlanta, GA where he served as the western regional coordinator for the Baptist Home Mission Board, responsible for establishing missions across the western US and Canada. In 1986 Bill and Naomi built a retirement home in Sedona, Arizona, where Bill authored a four-volume history titled "Southern Baptist Jubilee in the West." Not content to retire, Bill accepted the position of Evangelism Director for the Grand Canyon Baptist Association in northern Arizona and in 1993 he served as interim president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta. Bill and Naomi subsequently moved to Cottonwood, AZ--where he completed work on his book "Southern Baptists in the Intermountain West, 1940-1989"--and then to a beautiful retirement home with a lake view in Sun Lakes. Bill and Naomi helped to start new churches everywhere that they lived, including California, Utah, Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, and Canada. They ministered to shut-ins and people in elder care, nursing homes, and Alzheimer's facilities, and in 2002, Bill and Naomi were named Arizona Volunteers of the Year for their work with assisted-living and nursing home patients. Bill is survived by three sisters, Dorothy Clare (Fred) Boyett of Houston, TX, Shirley Elizabeth (Ward) McNeal of Humble, TX, and Susan Kay Struzeski of Waco, TX; a brother, Frederick Keith Hunke of Pinson, TN; daughter Dixie Lynn Hunke of Sun Lakes; sons Jonathan David (Sherrie) Hunke of Hoover, AL and Jimmy Paul (Juanita) Hunke of St. Simons Island, GA; and five grandsons, Kenny Hunke of Pelham, AL, Tommy Hunke of New York City, NY, Billy Hunke of Arlington, VA, Brian Hunke of Allston, MA, and D. J. (Jackie) Hunke of Springfield, VA. Bill was preceded in death by his wife Naomi, his parents, and a brother, Robert Wayne Hunke. n lieu of flowers, donations are welcome; they can be made to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions (North American Mission Board) or Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (International Mission Board) in honor of Bill's love for missions. A small graveside service with immediate family members will be held at Sedona Community Cemetery in Sedona, AZ.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 2, 2016
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