James P. Cundari, 99, of Sandusky, Ohio, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at home with his children present.
Jim was born in Harrison, New Jersey, on December 21, 1918, the son of Anthony and Carolina Cundari. He was a graduate of Holy Cross Grammar School (1932) in Harrison, New Jersey, and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (1936) in Newark, New Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Manhattan College in New York City in 1940.
After college, Jim worked as a Cost Accountant at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City and then at the General Motors Hyatt Bearings Division office in Harrison, New Jersey, from 1941 to 1965 as a supervisor in the cost accounting and inventory control department. In 1965, Hyatt was merged with New Departure, and Jim was transferred to the merged New Departure Hyatt Headquarters offices in Sandusky, Ohio. After a total of 41 years of service, he retired in 1982.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Jim volunteered his services as a member of the newly formed auxiliary police and later on as a charter member of the volunteer Harrison Emergency First Aid Squad. In 1943 he was called to active service and was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army “Tropic Lightning” 25th Infantry Division from 1943 to 1946, and saw combat actions against the Japanese in the rugged mountains of Luzon, Philippine Islands, from January through August of 1945. In September of 1945, his division landed at Nagoya, Japan, as part of the occupation forces to secure the peace.
Jim received his honorable discharge certificate on February 15, 1946, and was awarded the following medals for his service: the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal (with 3 bronze stars), the Army of Occupation Medal for Japan, the Philippines Liberation Medal (with 1 bronze star), the Philippines Civic Action Medal, and the Republic of the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation Badge. Afterwards he summarized his service memories in "A Soldier's Story". Excerpts from those memoirs have appeared in the Tropic Lightning Flashes publication of the 25th Infantry Division Association. Earlier this year he was interviewed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and his Profile of Service story appeared on the front page of their March 26 edition, and in Stars and Stripes, an American military newspaper.
In New Jersey Jim was a volunteer active member of the Knights of Columbus Youth Program. Over the span of 35 years as a member of the Columbus Cadet Corps, he rose in the ranks and in 1963 was named the State Commander of the Corps. In 1949 he organized and set up a weekend camp in South Jersey for the cadets, to which a permanent building was set up in 1955.
In 1937 Jim was a charter member and counselor of the Knights of Columbus Columbian Squire Youth Council. In 1941 the Knights of Columbus awarded him a gold medal for saving a youth from drowning in August of 1940 at a camp site in West Milford, New Jersey.
Jim was the chief counselor of the Junior Achievement company sponsored by his company in 1950 and 1951. In 1958 the Savoy Building and Loan Association of Harrison, New Jersey, appointed him as Treasurer and Director, and he continued in that capacity until his transfer to Sandusky, Ohio.
In Sandusky, Ohio, Jim became a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. He became active as a counselor in the CCD program for high school students, was elected to the school board in 1971 and served as its President in 1973 and 1974.
In 1970 at the request of the parish council, Jim was asked to prepare a financial budget, make monthly reports to the parish council, school board and finance committee. He continued with reports to the school board until the merger of the three schools in 2003. Reports to the Finance Committee continued until the appointment of a business manager in 1998, at which time the finance committee appointed him as a permanent member.
In 1988 Jim established an Endowment Fund for the school to help defray the cost of education, and arranged an “All Class Reunion” of the graduates of Sts. Peter and Paul Elementary School. He was General Chairman of the yearlong Sts. Peter and Paul 125th Anniversary Celebration. He published the Sts. Peter and Paul 125th Anniversary Book, a 304 page book of the complete history, articles and pictures of the church from 1866 to 1991, which was made available to all the parishioners. In July, 2017, he published the Sts. Peter and Paul 150th Anniversay Book, which contained the original 304 pages with the addition of another 192 pages covering the activities of the 1991 to 2016 period.
In his personal life Jim enjoyed many activities. In sports he was a New Jersey High School State Champion (1936) in the 1 mile relay, served as a Cross Country Manager from 1936 to 1940 at Manhattan College (Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Champions), and enjoyed playing tennis until 1982. His love of music included an extensive collection of records dating back to 1936. He had a photo collection of his family, travels, etc., and authored several books for his children and grandchildren of the personal experiences of his life.
Jim was always very dedicated to his family, always being present at every major event in the lives of his four children, his brothers and sisters and all his in-laws, grandchildren, and nephews and nieces. He was always present for happy and sad occasions.
Jim was a life time member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the National Association of Cost Accountants, and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the 25th Infantry “Tropic Lightning” Army Division.
Survivors include his children Anthony (Anita) Cundari of New Albany, Ohio, Joseph (Giorgia) Cundari of Sandusky, Johanna (James) Powers of Sandusky, and Maria (John) Horvath of Oxford, Michigan; grandchildren Christine (Jamie) DiSalvo of Maryland, Michelle (Matt) Hutchins of Pataskala, Ohio, Caterina and James Cundari of Sandusky, and Darryn (Leah), Bradley (Cassie) and Nicole Horvath of Michigan; great grandchildren Marcus and Silas DiSalvo and Juliette Hutchins; and many nephews and nieces, grand nephews and nieces, great grand nephews and nieces, and cousins.
Jim was preceded in death by his loving wife of 65 years, Johanna, in 2015, his parents, Anthony and Carolina Cundari, brothers Dominic and Joseph Cundari, and sisters Catherine and Vincentine Cundari.
Visitation will be Monday, June 4, from 4 to 7 p.m. with the reciting of the rosary at 6:45 p.m.at the David F. Koch Funeral Home, 520 Columbus Avenue in Sandusky. Prayers will be recited at the funeral home at 9:40 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Avenue in Sandusky, with the Rev. Joseph Steinbauer officiating. Interment will be in the Veterans section at Meadow Green Memorial Park Cemetery, 2602 Bogart Road in Huron, Ohio.
Memorial contributions in memory of James P. Cundari may be given to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio 44870; Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 10 Franklin Place in North Arlington, New Jersey 07031; Holy Cross Church, 323 Harrison Avenue in Harrison, New Jersey 07029; or to one’s favorite charity.
The family would like to express their sincere thanks and gratitude to Jim’s physicians and their staffs, Firelands Home Health, Adult Comfort Care, and Stein Hospice.
The dedicated loyal citizen, soldier and family man now rests in peace in God’s Hands. Jim is now reunited with his loving wife Johanna.
Your memories and words of comfort may be shared with Jim's family at davidfkoch.com.