Cover photo for John A. "Mike" Kunnen's Obituary
John A. "Mike" Kunnen Profile Photo
1923 John A. 2020

John A. "Mike" Kunnen

November 17, 1923 — June 3, 2020

John A. "Mike" Kunnen, 96, died on June 3 following a long life of undying love of God, country, family, Elder, helping small business owners, hot meals, clean sheets and the place he called home. Ever-loving husband for 71 years of Mary Clare (nee Kaufhold, deceased); loving and proud father of seven: Michael, Timothy, Patrick, Kathy Ernst (John), Mary Beth (deceased), Martha Ekardt (Patrick) and Marianne Kunnen-Jones (Rick); grandfather of Chris, Jeff and Daniel Ernst, Claire Shoemaker, Annie Ekardt and Patty Ekardt; step-grandfather of four; great-grandfather of six; step-great-grandfather of five; youngest son of Rosemary and Albert Kunnen (both deceased) and brother of Thomas, Albert (Angela) and Dick Kunnen (Virginia), all deceased. The family is grateful to the many aides who helped him and his wife in their latter years, especially longtime helpers from DayShare. Nicknamed Mike since his childhood, he was a lifelong resident of Price Hill and a third-generation Cincinnatian. He was proud of growing up near Dempsey Park and graduated from Elder in 1942. At Elder, he played varsity football, basketball and baseball and helped to build the stands at the Pit. He loyally attended Elder football games every season since 1946. For one semester at Xavier University, he played football until he enlisted in the Army to defeat the Nazis in WWII. In the European theater, he served in the 709th Tank Battalion, Company D as a gunner on Stuart M5A1 light tanks, called "crackerboxes" because they lit up like firecrackers when hit. He survived the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded four Bronze Stars, a Presidential Citation and the French Legion of Honor Medal. Returning to the hometown he loved, he married the love of his life, Mary Clare; the two never missed a kiss goodnight. Mike became recognized as long-time president of the Greater Cincinnati Gasoline Dealers Association and owner-operator of Kunnen Brothers Service. Opening the station on Glenway in 1946, he ran it with his brother, Dick, until Mike finally relented after 54 years and closed it in 2000. He worked hard, often six or seven days a week, to support his large family. He also dedicated many hours over six decades to fight for the livelihoods of independent gasoline retailers at the state and national levels, becoming a warrior against big oil corporations, and won a small but hard-fought allowance for dealers to help cover costs in the shrinkage of shipped gas. He was interviewed regularly by news media about the price/shortage of gasoline, was featured in a cartoon created by Jim Borgman for the Enquirer Sunday magazine, and testified before Ohio and Congressional legislators. An avid golfer, he shot two holes-in-one at Dunham golf course and devoted many years to Price Hill Day and Price Hill Baseball Oldtimers Association, which raises money for scholarships to the best graduating scholar-athletes at Elder, West High and Oak Hills high schools. Visitation 5-8 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at Meyer Funeral Home, 5864 Bridgetown Road; funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Friday, June 12, at St. William Church, 4108 W. Eighth Street. Burial follows at St. Joseph New Cemetery (Foley and Pedretti). Memorial donations may be made to Elder High School, 3900 Vincent Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45205.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, June 11, 2020

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, June 12, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Interment with Military Honors

Friday, June 12, 2020

Starts at 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

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