John Henry Huneke
John Henry Huneke, 97, passed away peacefully on February 5, 2020, in the Robley Rex VA Medical Center.

John was born on January 20, 1923, in Batesville, IN. He spent his early childhood in a two-story log house on a farm where he helped with chores, including casing eggs from 500 hens. When old enough, he plowed fields with a team of horses, drove spikes on the railroad, helped his dad deliver the U.S. mail, worked in a shoe store and built some of the first rural telephone lines. He was an Eagle Scout, played basketball, and held a State High School Track record for the 440 yard dash for over 30 years. John graduated from Batesville High School in 1941. John attended DePauw University as a Rector Scholar and pledged Delta Upsilon.

In February of 1943, at age 20, John left college, joined the Army Air Corps, and became a WWII pilot. He trained in both the PT-17 Stearman bi-plane and the BT-13. In October 1943, at 20, he earned his pilot's wings and rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He flew over 2,500 hours in training and as a test pilot in bombers and fighter planes, including: B-29s, B-17s, B-26s, AT-6s, AT-18s, P-40s, P-39s, A-29s, and the Lockheed Hudson. He safely landed a P-40 with its engine blown and a B-17 with three failed engines.

After the war, John was an accountant for both Armour & Company in Indianapolis and then at the Union Furniture Co. in Batesville, IN. In 1951, he began what would become a 37-year career as a top salesman for Batesville Casket Company in Kentucky and Indiana. Also, in the 1950s, John (in his early 30s) constructed Cedar Lane and the Huneke subdivision in Batesville next to Sycamore Lake. Cedar Lane became a wonderful home and neighborhood for us and many families. Some of these families are still living there today. In his 60s and beyond, he embraced the computer age and learned to code in MS-DOS to create his own business records and sales reports. In 1993, John (70) came out of retirement to do accounting for his son Dan at Dancor Commercial Properties. He became the administrator for the Kentucky CCIM Chapter, a statewide commercial real estate association.

John was a widower of two wonderful women. He first married his childhood sweetheart, Doris Mae Cook, on April 8, 1944. They brought three sons into the world - Johnny, Mike, and Danny - and lived happily together for 24 years until her passing in 1968.

After grieving the passing of Doris, John found joy again with Claire Basler and the family moved to Louisville, KY. John became a caring and supportive stepfather to two more children, Bob and Susie. John and Claire spent 47 years of marriage traveling the world and enjoying their blended family - five children, eleven grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren - until Claire's passing in 2016.

John was a member of Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church, a 50+ year Mason and a member of Wildwood Country Club, where he loved playing golf. He enjoyed playing cards and games with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (especially Billiards, Gin Rummy, Rummikub, and Tripoley).

Years before Ancestry.com, John and his wife, Claire, went on a quest to research their family's heritage. Claire, who was fluent in German, was an indispensable partner in the project. Their research lead them to libraries, cemeteries, churches, and courthouses in Germany, New York City, Indiana, Ohio, and Salt Lake City. After 17 years of research and 4,000 ancestor entries, John published - with Butler Books - a 450+ page chronicle of his family's history dating back to the 1600s.

John was a considerate man, with an energetic and curious mind. He was clever, funny, and intuitive: just because he was bored in middle school; he read the Encyclopedia Britannica. He had a kind, generous, and caring heart and we all knew he was always there for us. He was truly a member of The Greatest Generation. His dedication to service - to his country, his community, his family, his family's education - remains a source of inspiration, confidence and ambition for all his descendants.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Alonzo (Lonnie) and Mildred Bultman Huneke; sister, Elsie Kile High; his first wife of 24 years, Doris Mae (Cook); his second wife of 47 years, Claire (Foernzler); son Michael William Huneke; and son-in-law William T. Applegate.

He is survived by his sister, Mary Lou Wehr (Arnold) of Greensburg, IN; sons, John H. Huneke III (Ruth) of Summit, NJ, and Daniel A. Huneke (Lauren Theobald) of Louisville, KY; daughter Susan Applegate (Bill-deceased) of Louisville; son Robert C. Basler (Barbara) of Santa Fe, NM; daughter-in-law Belinda Peterson (Mike-deceased) of Indianapolis; eleven grandchildren: Gesche, Michael (Melissa), Amanda (Jeremy), Ben (Annie), Kate (Tom), Cordt, Chase, Christopher, Jonathan (Megan), Kelli (Ragan), and Amelia (Parker); as well as eleven great-grandchildren: Tommy, Joe, Libby, Morgan, Rebekah, Addyson, Reed, Ted, Thomas, Tess, & Holden; and brothers-in-law Bill Foernzler (Linda), Don Eubank (Sonja-deceased), and Sam VanSickle (Martha-deceased).

Our family expresses deep appreciation to the caring staff of the Rose Anna Hughes Building of Presbyterian Homes, the caregivers of Hosparus Health and Home Instead, especially Terry Tyler. You provided love and extraordinary care of our Patriarch and enriched John's daily life.

In lieu of flowers, he requests that expressions of affection might be made to Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church, 311 Browns Lane, Louisville, KY 40207, or Presbyterian Homes of Louisville, 2116 Buechel Bank Rd, Louisville, KY 40218.

Funeral Services will be held at Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church at 10:00am Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, with burial in Cave Hill Cemetery to follow. Visitation will be from 3pm-7pm on Friday, Feb. 7, at Ratterman Funeral Home 3711 Lexington Road, St. Matthews, KY.
Published on February 6, 2020

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