Photos from the family gathering at Mack's funeral have been posted.  Click here to see them.

Last revised 12/10/17


In Memoriam: Mack Richard Dunkle


Mack Richard Dunkle, 80, who lived most of his life on Pine Creek, in the mountains of northcentral Pennsylvania, died suddenly on August 26, 2006, at his home in Blairsville, Georgia.

He was born May 2, 1926, in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, the son of George Warfield Dunkle and Faith Richards Dunkle.

A World War II Navy veteran, Mack served as a cook in a Seabees construction battalion in the Philippines. Working in the steamy jungle, he contracted a nearly fatal case of malaria and was medically discharged in 1946.

For 35 years, Mack was a postman in Jersey Shore. Starting as a substitute in 1947, he soon amazed residents with his ability to recall the name and address of anyone on his mail route -- including children, cats, and dogs.

As a postman, Mack continued a family tradition: His father had been a Jersey Shore rural carrier; his grandfather, Forrest B. Dunkle, the town’s postmaster. Today, one of his grandchildren delivers mail in Hiawassee, Georgia.

Although his favorite farewell was “Don’t work too hard!”, Mack was a prodigious laborer. On his days off, he painted houses to help support his family of seven. After retiring in 1982, he continued painting until age 75, when he fell off a ladder and decided to “quit while I’m ahead.” Nevertheless, he worked until the very hour of his death: He collapsed while running a weed whacker at his new home in Georgia, where he had moved last spring.

Mack's final words to his wife were, “Don’t worry about me, Honey; I know where I’m going.” Following a religious conversion in 1960, he had been a lifelong lay evangelist. He served for years as treasurer of the Avis Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, which he co-pastored from 1980 to 1982. Later, he belonged to the Assembly of God in Antes Fort. He regularly visited inmates at the Clinton County Jail and preached to campers at Little Pine Creek Dam. He distributed free clothing at his home, where he hung a sign saying, "Smile! God Loves You!" On his last morning on earth, paramedics found him wearing a broad smile and extending his right hand toward the foot of the bed, as if welcoming someone standing there.

Big Voice

During his early church years, Mack seemed to be tone-deaf, yet he sang louder than any other parishioner. He defended himself by quoting Psalm 100: “‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!’” To the congregation’s relief, he eventually mastered pitch and developed a sweet bass-baritone. Among his favorite hymns were "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and  “When the Roll Is Called up Yonder, I’ll Be There.”

Mack was an avid hunter and trapper, well known for his exploits with rifle and bow. His religious scruples prevented him from stretching the truth on such matters, but he enjoyed exaggerating on behalf of his fellows. He was a consummate storyteller. He would keep a straight face through the most outlandish tale, finally bursting into laughter that could be heard in the next block. The strength of his voice often astonished strangers, for he was only five-feet-six and seldom weighed more than 140. Still, his speed earned him a place as tailback with the Jersey Shore High School Bulldogs.

In his youth, Mack assisted his father in training state-champion bird dogs. Later, he ran his own boarding kennel. He also helped to organize a local archery club and co-founded the Jersey Shore Horseshoe League. There, his 1-3/4-turn pitching technique earned him top ranking along with his doubles partner, fellow postman George “Clarkie” Clark.

Rich in Family

Mack Dunkle never had a lot of money -- most of it went to his children, his church, and the poor. He could never have won the lottery, because he considered gambling a sin. (He refused to play poker, even for toothpicks.) But he had a powerful practical streak that would have constrained him from spending his winnings anyway. He ridiculed frills and finery. He didn’t particularly like flowers—except for dandelions, because you could eat the leaves. He disliked fancy food, although he occasionally subjected his family to courses of muskrat or possum from his traplines. (“Meat’s high,” he would say.) Once, shocked at an estimate for professionally repainting his car, he applied a gallon of green (his favorite color) by himself. “You can’t see the brush marks if you stand back far enough,” he told one of his sons.

Mack always considered himself rich in family, however. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Donna June Reitzel Dunkle; a sister, Betty Lou (Clair) Robinson, of Pine Creek; two brothers, Walter L. Dunkle of Pine Creek and Donald E. Dunkle of Elizabethtown, Kentucky; two sons, Steve L. Dunkle of Blairsville, Georgia, and Terry W. Dunkle of Danbury, Connecticut; and two daughters, Cheryl R. (Eldon) Arndt of Young Harris, Georgia, and Denise A. (Jerry) Booth of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A third daughter, Senie M. (Calvin) Eyer, died in 1985. Other survivors include 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A graveside service with military honors was conducted at the Tombs Run Cemetery, overlooking Pine Creek, on Friday, September 1. As a memorial, the family suggests contributions to the Tract League (, publishers of the sermonettes that Mack often drew from his shirt pocket to give to complete strangers.


Know Someone Who'd Like a Copy?

If you have a friend who doesn't have a computer, we'll be happy to mail a printed version of this obituary anywhere in the world. Click here.

Want to See the Dunkle Photo Album?

You'll find pictures (old and new) of Mack and other Dunkles and their friends -- including photos from the family gathering before and after Mack's funeral -- right here.





Help Tell Mack's Story!


Click here to email memories, anecdotes, quotes, and comments, so I can post them for all to read.


Sign the Guest Book


Please tell us you were here. So far, we've heard from the following -- many of whom have posted comments below:

  • Nigel Scott

  • Dee (Cummings) Allen

  • Irene Schrimp

  • Mike Dunkle

  • Linda Bates

  • Bob Willits

  • Jim and Alice Stroud

  • William Schaefer

  • Larilyn Arndt

  • Darlene Wallen

  • Wilbur Moore

  • Dorothy Moore

  • Penny Parks

  • Becky Forstrom

  • Arlene (Carl) Cogan

  • Sharon (Wagner) Linn

  • David A. Snyder

  • Harold Pepperman

  • Charlene Sawyer

  • Cheryl (Wright) Lavely

  • Barbara (Wright) Sanders

  • Richard and Sandra Myers

  • Jim Stroud Jr.

  • Melody Montgomery

  • Julie Vreeland

  • Caroline (Dunkle) Lusk

  • Emma (Kemmerer) Shirk

  • Craig Willits

Check Back Often... see more about this remarkable man and his inspiring life. Besides your own material, I will add pictures, quotable "Mackisms," and lots more.


Love to all,

Terry Dunkle

(Mack's son, on behalf of my mother, Donna June, and siblings Steve, Cheryl, and Denise)


P.S. Donna (AKA June) will be checking this page regularly to see what her husband's friends have added. For those who also want to send condolence letters, her mailing address is Donna J. Dunkle, 2815 Emerine Rd., Blairsville, GA 30512.


Responses So Far


(Click here to add yours!)


Song Leader With a Smile


I remember Mr. Dunkle from my childhood. He attended the Christian Missionary Alliance church in Avis. He was the song leader, and he always sang "Thank You, Lord, for Saving My Soul." I am 38 years old and I still remember he always had a smile on his face. His wife was just as pleasant. I will remember your family in my prayers.

-- Dee (Cummings) Allen, Harrisburg, Pa.


"How Was Work?"


I was blessed as a child growing up to have Mack as my grandfather. When I was young my grandparents would come to visit us often, as we lived less than 20 minutes away. Before he would leave, Pap would pull a quarter from his pocket and say, “Don’t spend that all in one place.”

Another thing that I remember vividly from my youth was Pap teaching me to shoot. My parents had gone away somewhere for a couple of days, so my sister, Caroline, and I were staying at Gram and Pap’s. Pap decided we were too bored, so he grabbed his old Nylon 66 .22 rifle, a cardboard box, and one of the purple chairs from their kitchen, and went out into the driveway. After a few minutes setting everything up and showing me how the rifle worked, he let me squeeze off a round or two. Seeing that I was smiling and enjoying the sharp crack of the old .22, he went back into the house and returned with a few boxes of ammunition. My sister, Pap, and I spent quite a while that afternoon taking potshots at that box.

I’ve traveled around and have been in and out of trouble most of my adult life, only recently putting my past behind me and settling down to become a responsible member of the community I live in. But over the years, when I sought some stability and clear-headed, practical advice, it was Pap I would go see. Not only would I get some good advice (and usually not what I wanted to hear) but also Pap would catch me up on local news that you couldn’t read in the paper. I’d also get a well told story or two, a snack, and a prayer before I left.

I was blessed once again in the last couple months to be around my Pap every day. He would see me off to work in the morning and greet me when I returned with, “How was work?” His passing has caught me totally off guard and I will miss him, but the values and faith that he helped to instill in me over the years will never leave me.

-- Michael S. Dunkle, Blairsville, Ga.


A Special Christmas Card


Uncle Mack was one of the friendliest fellows I've ever met. As a shy kid, I recall he would never pass up the opportunity to speak to me, joke with me, put his hand on my shoulder, tell me a story, and just make me feel important. His Christian testimony was real. Also, I remember he would, for years after Daddy died, give a sum of money to Mom in a Christmas card. Mom felt that was so generous.

-- Bob Willits, Bennettsburg, N.Y.


"Good Morning, Mack!"


Mack was our mailman -- for many years -- when we lived on Spruce Street in Jersey Shore. We (Mom, Dad and four daughters) all thought that Mack was just wonderful, and it was always a treat to see him coming up the sidewalk. My sisters and I (all probably under 11 or 12 at the time) thought it would be funny to leave a message for Mack to see every day, so we made a little sign that said, “Good Morning, Mack” and taped it to the mailbox.


That sign stayed there for years -- long after my sisters and I grew up and moved out, and even after Mack retired. In fact, it was probably still there when my parents moved over to Avis a couple of years ago.


Mack was a good guy. He was also a town legend -- I am sure that people have many wonderful and funny memories of him. I am also sure he is up there in the clouds right now, laughing and smiling down on us.


-- Penny Parks, Boiling Springs, Pa.

Sympathies and Greetings


I am the daughter of the Rev. Alfred Carl, who pastored the Avis Christian and Missionary Alliance Church that Mack and Donna and their five children attended in the late 1950s. Years later, I saw Mack and Donna from time to time at the Mahaffey church camp, which I have attended since our move to western Pennsylvania in 1988.


My mother died in November 2003, and my dad is now staying with me and my husband, John. We live at 231 Painter Avenue, Greensburg PA 15601. John is chaplain to a Presbyterian retirement home. I am secretary at the Greensburg Alliance Church and pianist for another Alliance church in the area. We have five children and several grandchildren.

Please send my sympathies and greetings to your family.


-- Arlene (Carl) Cogan, Greensburg, Pa.


Camper's Surprise


Please accept our deepest condolences on your father's passing into eternity.


My heart feels your loss. Your mom and dad were the ones who led me to Christ when I was a wee lad living up Pine Creek. I was so thrilled eight or nine years ago when we were camping at Little Pine State Park and found that your mom and dad were leading the worship service there. I hadn't seen or talked to them in probably 35 years.


We will pray for God's hand of comfort and strength for you and the rest of the family during this time.


-- Jim Stroud Jr.


Love and Prayers


Your website is a very very nice tribute to your father. I didn't really know him, but I do know other members of his family. My love and prayers are with you all today.


-- Charlene Sawyer, Waterville, Pa.



God Be With You All

I remember Mack and June from the Christian and  Missionary Alliance Church. Mack had a pleasant word to say to every person who attended, and if you had any kind of problem he was there to help. He was my postman for several years. I don't recall ever seeing him without a smile on his face.


June was my Sunday school teacher in my horrible teenage years. Please tell her that I finally grew up to be a person she would be pleased to know.


God be with you all in this difficult time.


-- Cheryl (Wright) Lavely, Jersey Shore, Pa.



Full of Life


I attended church with Mack, June, and the kids at the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Avis when I was young. In the years that followed the closing of that church, Mack would always stop to chat whenever and wherever he saw you. He was always so full of life and filled with the Holy Spirit, he was a joy to be around. He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.


-- Barbara (Wright) Sanders, South Avis, Pa.


A Joy to Know


What a lovely obituary -- obviously written with love. Mack must have been a joy to know. My deepest sympathy.


-- Linda Bates, Newtown, Conn.


His Kind of Faith


My husband, Dick Myers, was born and raised in Waterville, Pa., so he knew all the Dunkles. When we moved to Jersey Shore, Mack was our postman. He always had a smile on his face. I also knew he collected clothing and sent it where needed. We should all live with his kind of faith.


-- Sandra Myers, Jersey Shore, Pa.



True Gentleman


Uncle Mack was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. It was always a pleasure to see Uncle Mack; he was unintimidating and approachable. He had a way about him that made you feel welcome to just be in his presence. He had a gentle nature that made it easy to be around him. He honestly cared for people and made me feel important and took a genuine interest in me, as he did with everyone. Mack Dunkle was a blessing to this world and everyone he came in contact with. He will be dearly missed.


Craig Willits, Mill Hall, Pa.

More will be posted... they are received.                               -- Terry