Obituary – James F. Gundersen


James F. Gundersen, of Southold, passed away on June 18, 2009, while surrounded by family and friends. He was 61 years old.

Jim was born in Floral Park on Nov. 14, 1947 to Francis J. Gundersen and Natalie Shields Gundersen. He attended St. Paul’s School in Garden City and graduated in 1966. He attended Long Island University at Southampton, where he was an active brother of Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity, and met his future wife Emily Shan. After graduating in 1970, the couple married on Sept. 5 in Williston Park.

He worked for Hazeltine Corp/Esprit Systems until he retired in 1989. Soon after retirement he received a liver transplant. He was one of the earliest transplant recipients. He continued to live a fulfilling and joyful life for 20 years.

Jim served the community of the First Presbyterian Church in Southold as a trustee and he was proudly on assignment from Santa for many years at the Southold Historical Society’s annual Candlelight Tour.

His love of gardening led to his victory all but once in the Annual Tomato Contest with longtime friends and neighbors, George and Sunny Small. His belief that “knowledge is good” led to the pursuit of a Ph.D. from Snapple University. One of his passions was clamming and he took great pleasure in teaching friends and family how to clam and enjoy the water. He had an appreciation of fine cinema and was also a founding member of the world famous singing trio, the Spasmodics, an avid traveler aboard the Mothership and a connoisseur of road trips and tropical islands.

A great loss will be felt by all, but most deeply by his wife of nearly 40 years, Emily. He was a loving father to his children, Jennifer Schelin of Massachusetts, Sarah Gundersen Mazzaferro and Peter Gundersen of Greenport and Zippy.

He loved his sons-in-law, Todd Schelin and Michael Mazzaferro and was a devoted poppy to his grandchildren, Jesse and Eric Schelin and Maia, Jacob and Ella Mazzaferro. He will be missed by his sister Patricia Gundersen of Rochester, MN, and was a favorite son-in-law of Ruth Shan of East Marion. He was a caring brother-in-law to Stephen Shan of Ronkonkoma and dedicated friend to Sandy and the late Don Perry of New Suffolk, Connie and Ronnie Krumholz of Garden City Park, Nancy and Joe Manduca of Southold and Roybo and Maureen Klett of Blue Point.

The family will be holding memorial services at the First Presbyterian Church in Southold on June 27 at 10 a.m. Rev. Dr. Peter J. Kelley will officiate. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Eastern Long Island Hospital to benefit the Intensive Care Unit. Arrangements entrusted to the DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home, Southold.

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