Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Joker - In Memoriam

This blog customarily is about weird or strange occurrences, often irreverent, and always on the look-out for a laugh. That is why it is a perfect location for a eulogy about a colleague and friend, and a really good person, Jim Kunde. Jim had been engaged in a life and death struggle with cancer for several years. He finally lost that battle on February 11, 2009.

Despite all the pain, hardship and suffering, Jim never lost his sense of humor nor his infectious good cheer. Jim always had a smile and a friendly greeting for everyone he encountered.

Jim was playful and loved a good practical joke, frequently at the expense of his colleagues and friends. He would dangle fake rubber hands from the hallway ceiling, or leave skeletons in the classrooms. I will always remember the day he suddenly appeared in my office doorway with a camera. He said the Dean had asked him to get a few photos of some of the faculty. As be bent and lined up to shoot my picture, the camera turned out to be a disguised water pistol and I got shot alright, but with a pointed stream of water while Jim laughed uproariously.

His nickname was a natural, the Joker.

There also was a serious side to Jim. A keen observer of human behavior, Jim was a scholar, a consultant and an advisor to local governments on the subject of public administration and group choice.

As for me, I'll always prefer to remember him doing what he loved most, being the Joker. He will be missed by his family and by his many friends and associates.

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