In Memory of John P. “Jack” Wunderle

John Wunderle poses in front of an Akron Transportation Company car in November 1941 during a trip chartered by the Eastern Ohio Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, a predecessor group of the Akron Railroad Club.

John Wunderle during a presentation at the Kent Historical Society on June 7, 2010.

On the eve of its 75th anniversary banquet, the Akron Railroad Club lost a major link to its past. John P. “Jack” Wunderle of Cuyahoga Falls, died on April 22, 2011, at age 90.

Mr. Wunderle is the last known surviving member of the ARRC who had been a member of the club when it was the Eastern Ohio chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Although not a co-founder of the group, Mr. Wunderle joined it not long after its 1936 founding.

He had actively attended ARRC meetings until shortly before his death. We always knew when it was winter because Jack would be in Florida. But as soon as spring returned, do did Jack.

Mr. Wunderle had a passion for the history of traction operations. He kept scrapbooks at his home filled with newspaper clippings about trolley and interurban operations. Another set of scrapbooks contained the many photographs that Mr. Wunderle recorded of traction operations.

Born March 15, 1921 in Cleveland, he was the son of Carl V. and Helen Wunderle. The family moved to Kent in 1929 and John Wunderle graduated from Kent Roosevelt High School in 1938.

He worked briefly at the Standard Drug store before joining Ohio Bell Telephone Company in 1939.

He served in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II where he was an instructor pilot who flew heavy bombers. He became a commander on a B-29 that had been assigned to the South Pacific when the war ended.

After the war, Mr. Wunderle returned to Ohio Bell Telephone Company where he worked for 42 years before retiring in 1981. Aside from the ARRC, Mr. Wunderle was a member of the Kent Historical Society, the Canal Society of Ohio, the Kent Rotary Club, the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen, and the Telephone Pioneers.

Wunderle often gave presentations on canals and railroads.  He also built a scale model of Kent with its canal and railroads for the Kent Historical Society Museum.

Mr. Wunderle is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary Lou Wunderle; two sons, John, Jr. and  Tim Wunderle; two daughters, Susanne Blok and Laurie Knuth; two brothers, Carl Wunderle and Frank Wunderle;13 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 26th at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home in Kent. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 27th at St. Patrick Church in Kent. Burial will be held at Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent.

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