Donna June Dunkle
Donna June Reitzel Dunkle, 90, formerly of R.D. 1, Jersey Shore, died last Saturday morning, Dec. 1, 2018 in Young Harris, Ga., where she had lived since 2013 with her oldest daughter, Cheryl Dunkle Arndt, while battling Alzheimer’s disease. June (known mainly by her middle name) passed peacefully in her sleep.
Born on June 15, 1928, in Duboistown, June was the eldest daughter of Mervin Paul Reitzel (1898-1985) and Margaret London Reitzel (1906-1997).
When her father, a machinist, lost his job in the Great Depression, the family escaped to her mother’s ancestral farm on Dutch Hollow Road, near Jersey Shore, where they lived off the land during most of June’s childhood.
While a student at Jersey Shore High School, June wore a locket containing a picture of a neighbor, Mack Dunkle, then serving the Navy in the Pacific. They had met as children while ice-skating on Pine Creek.
After marrying, in 1947, they settled on the same creek. Mack, a Jersey Shore mail carrier for 35 years, died in 2006 at age 80.
At a high school reunion in the mid 1950s, Mack and June won a humorous citation for fertility. They had five children in only seven and a half years.
Surviving are Steve, now in Blairsville, Ga.; Terry, in Danbury, Conn.; Cheryl Dunkle Arndt, in Young Harris, Ga.; and Denise Dunkle Booth, in Williamsport.
Their sister, Senie Dunkle Eyer, of State College, died in 1985.
Today, June’s 35 descendants also include 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
In 1961, June experienced a religious conversion that drew her to mission work. She co-founded a local food pantry that later merged into the New Love Center in Jersey Shore. She also served as a lay pastor for the Avis Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, where for years she ministered to children in an after-school “Happy Hour.”
She and Mack preached regularly at RV camps on Pine Creek. June eventually became an elder in the televangelist firm Morris Cerullo World Evangelism. In her last years, she belonged to the Antes Fort Assembly of God.
June held at least two political offices in her local township: tax assessor and judge of elections. She was also active in the Tombs Run School PTA and other civic organizations.
An animal lover all her life, June was a breeder of registered terriers, chihuahuas, and Pekingese. She also raised chickens, ducks, and geese; helped Mack run a boarding kennel; and adopted many cats, a crow, a robin, a mouse, a red squirrel, a groundhog, an opossum, numerous turtles, and myriad snakes and other wild animals brought home by her children.
She loved planting and tending flowers — especially roses, poppies, and irises. She also kept aquariums full of guppies, swordfish, and neons, which she sometimes fed with mosquito larvae collected from local ponds.
A graveside service will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Tombs Run Cemetery, immediately north of the intersection of Pennyslvania routes 44 and 973.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the New Love Center Food Pantry, 229 S. Broad St., Jersey Shore, Pa. 17740 (phone 570-772-3275).
Funeral arrangements are by the Mountain View and Frederick B. Welker homes in Blairsville, Ga., and Jersey Shore, Pa., respectively.