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John C. Hunkins, Sr.

February 9, 1943 - February 4, 2022

John C. Hunkins, Sr.
Loving Husband, Father, and Grandfather

John Christopher Hunkins Sr. died on February 4th, 2022 at the age of 78. He is survived by daughter Jennifer (Peter) Lancrete, son John (Lisa) Hunkins Jr., grandchildren Jaylen and Dylan Lancrete and Samantha and Kate Hunkins, and brothers George D (Nella) and Philip (Fran). 

John was born amidst a raging blizzard in Breckenridge, MN on February 9, 1943 to George and Florence (nee Ambers). He was the youngest brother of the four children: George, Richard and Philip. 

He spent most of his life in West Saint Paul, MN where he met Jayne (nee Colbeth) in December of 1964 at Ascension Episcopal Church on the West Side. They began dating a few months later at the insistence and persistence of John’s sister-in-law, Carol. They became engaged in the summer of 1965, and married on June 25, 1966 at Ascension Episcopal Church.

In 1963, John enlisted in the U.S. Army, and after basic training he attended the U.S. Army intelligence school to be trained as a military intelligence coordinator. During John’s service, he attained the rank of Specialist Five (SP5) and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Sharpshooter Badge (rifle), and Expert Badge (pistol). John was honorably discharged in 1969.

John spent his post-Army career working as an electrical technician for Control Data (now General Dynamics) working on large hard disks used in naval ships. Post-retirement, he and Jayne moved to Inver Grove Heights where he remained until his health declined in 2020. 

John and Jayne were active members of Christ Episcopal Church since early 1970. Over the years, John was involved with the church as an usher, in the youth ministry and singing in the choir. 

John and Jayne were members of the Cass Lake Episcopal Camp Management Board for many years and served in a variety of capacities. As camp deans, they helped check campers on and off the bus as they traveled to and from New Brighton and Cass Lake. He along with his friend, Tim Peterson, even took on the bone chilling duty of putting in and pulling out the docks in the frigid waters of Cass lake.

John enjoyed spending time outdoors in a variety of activities. He regularly met with friends at his hunting shack in Togo, MN. For nearly 25 years, he rode his bike in the Bike MS: TRAM (The Ride Across Minnesota) to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis and because he loved riding. While he rode, he loved listening to polka music and was dubbed “The Polka Pedaler”.

John and Jayne enjoyed music and for many years regularly attended concerts at parks such as Como, Lake Harriet, Centennial Lakes, and Edinborough, and theaters such as The Phipps and The Shelton. Annually, they would spend a week in Branson, MO taking in shows. 

Jayne and John enjoyed traveling when possible. They took a three week trip to England in 1991. They went on three cruises including one from San Juan, Puerto Rico through the Panama Canal to San Francisco. After Jayne passed away, John felt the best way to carry on was to continue doing the things they loved to do together. He attended concerts, class reunions, traveled to Scotland, and went on cruises.

John was an active father and grandfather, including being a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader. He and Jayne attended every possible school concert or play, dance recital, cheer competition, soccer game, swim meet, art exhibit, and so on for both their children and grandchildren. This often meant traveling between The Cities and Rochester or Duluth in a single day. 

John had Parkinson’s disease which progressed rapidly the last couple years. In September 2020, living on his own became too difficult and he moved in with his son and family. From there he moved to Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield, MN where he died peacefully under the care of the nursing staff and his children. 

Celebration of Life services will be held on Friday, May 6, at 10:30 a.m. with visitation and luncheon to follow at Christ Episcopal Church in Woodbury, MN.

Memorials preferred to Christ Episcopal Church ( or donor’s choice.

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