August 18, 1926-May 3, 2014
NEW BERN | Dr. Cooper Dave Kunkel III died peacefully at his home in New Bern on Saturday morning. Born in Lynchburg, Va., Cooper grew up in the coal mining town of Norton, Va. where he graduated from Norton High School. As soon as he was of age, he enlisted in the U.S. Army
, trained as a gunner in a B-29, and was shipped to Okinawa, Japan as part of the occupation force. Upon return, he used the G.I. Bill to attend The Virginia Military Institute, and later earned his undergraduate degree from The University of Virginia. He received a medical degree from UVA, and did his residency at the University of Colorado Medical School and Tulare County Hospital in California. He returned east to Clarksville, Va. where he opened his General Practice. He later moved his family to Durham, and studied Ophthalmology at Duke University. He worked for twenty years at Coastal Eye Clinic in New Bern, served as chief of staff of Craven County Hospital, and operated free eye clinics in Arapahoe, Bayboro, and Ocracoke. Upon retirement, Cooper spent ten years as a volunteer physician at The Merci Clinic in New Bern.
Cooper was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern where he served on the Vestry, and was a lay reader for twenty-five years. During a period when the church was without an assistant rector, he read the lectionary at fifty-two consecutive Sundays at the 7:30 a.m. service. As a Layman, he also led services at the Episcopal Church in Trenton.
Cooper served as Commodore and Historian at his beloved East Carolina Yacht Club.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, Joan Brooks Kunkel; his daughters, Laura Kunkel Gentry (Dan) of Lewisville, NC and Beth Kunkel Young (Larry) of New Bern; his son, C. Dave Kunkel of Tarboro; and six grandchildren, Michael, Zach, Mandy, Brooks, Addie Kate, and Cooper.
The family wishes to thank the physicians and staff of CarolinaEast Medical Center and Craven County Hospice for their services and kindness.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Merci Clinic of New Bern, 1315 Tatum Drive, New Bern, NC 28560, and Christ Episcopal Church, 320 Pollock Street, PO Box 1246, New Bern, NC 28563.
Visitation will be held at Christ Episcopal Church in the Parish Hall on Tuesday evening, May 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. The memorial service for Cooper will be at Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 7, 2014. A reception at the church will follow the service.
Online condolences may be directed to www.pollockbest.com.
Arrangements are by Pollock-Best Funerals & Cremations.