James Joseph Kuntz of Bismarck passed away Saturday, February 13, 2021 in Mesa, Arizona after a weeks-long battle with Covid-19. He was 78.
Jim was born on January 27, 1943 in Dickinson, North Dakota to Roman and Rose Kuntz. He attended Dickinson High School and Dickinson State University. Jim retired from Job Service North Dakota in Bismarck. He also served proudly in the ND National Guard from which he retired as a Lt. Colonel.
During retirement Jim spent his summers in North Dakota, tending the garden at his cabin on Blue Lake; and his winters in Arizona, golfing, crafting handmade rosaries, and giving rides aboard a novelty choo-choo train through the streets of his retirement community. In any season Jim spent much of his time building close friendships.
While always a frugal man with money, Jim was not well-known for his economy with words. Brevity escaped him. He never met a stranger with whom he didn’t want to have an hour-long conversation. He could tell long, meandering stories – often with several subplots – before arriving at the (usually rewarding) crescendo. Belly laughs – sometimes to the point of tears – would often ensue.
Jim is survived by his wife, Margaret Kuntz; his son Patrick Kuntz and Olivera Petkovska of Minneapolis; Margaret’s daughters Heather Haag and Natalie and Brett Allery; grandchildren Lily, Brooklyn, Jackson, Piper, and Luka; as well as Shantel and Dave Wurtz and their children, Daytona and Pacen; his brother and sister-in-law Richard and Peggy Kuntz of Boise, Idaho; his sister MaryAnn Seiler of Dickinson, and many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by both parents, his brother Tony Kuntz, and his sisters Pauline Splichal and Delores Barta.
Jim’s ashes will be laid to rest in the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan. Given the pandemic, the weather, and the scattered location of family and friends this time of year, a memorial service and funeral will be planned in the coming months.