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Obituary: William G. Kunz Sr. / His singing Valentines often brought a tear to eye of recipient

Sunday, December 28, 2003

By Alisha Hipwell

William G. Kunz Sr. didn't care whether he was singing show tunes, pop standards or sacred hymns.

He just loved to sing.

"He sang for anybody who would listen," said his wife, Joan Kunz.

Mr. Kunz, of Penn, Butler County, performed regularly in a number of music groups in the Butler area, including the Butler Musical Theater Guild and the Bob McGinnis Singers.

He died Dec. 14 of a heart attack at his home at the age of 80.

A baritone, Mr. Kunz began singing as a child in his church choir in Shaler, where he was raised.

In the early '70s, he became involved with the Butler Musical Theater Guild and performed in the choir and in small roles in numerous productions until just a few years ago.

He also sang barbershop quartet with the Notables Barbershop Chorus. Every Valentine's Day, the quartet delivered singing telegraphs to unsuspecting sweethearts in the Butler and Pittsburgh areas, his wife recalled.

"He said everybody always cried when they sang," she said.

He also was a singer with the now-defunct Bob McGinnis Singers, the Blazing Star Choral Society and the Esquire Players. In addition, he performed as a soloist at a number of area churches.

Mr. Kunz was a World War II Army veteran and served as a combat engineer in Normandy, Germany and the Battle of the Bulge.

After his discharge, he worked for Ironworkers Local 3 and then PBI Industries, from which he retired as a supervisor in 1986.

When he wasn't singing, Mr. Kunz loved to pilot his small plane -- so much so that he moved his family from Ross to Penn in 1975 after finding land for sale next to the Butler County Airport.

He also had been active with Boy Scout Troop 162 in the Bauerstown section of Shaler for many years.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Kunz is survived by two sons, William G. Kunz Jr., of the North Side, and Eric T. Kunz, of Butler; two daughters, Denise Kunz, of Harmony, and Diane Warrene, of Butler; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A funeral was held Dec. 18 in St. Paul Church in Butler. Interment followed in Calvary Cemetery in Butler. Martin Funeral Home in Butler handled the arrangements.

Alisha Hipwell is a freelance writer.

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