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James Arthur Yunker Jr.

PFC in 3133rd Signal Service Co


Born 1922 in KY, Died 2015

County of residence at enlistment: Jefferson County, KY
Other residence(s): Louisville, KY; Peabody, MA; Pittsfield, MA; Brussels, Belgium; Pasadena, CA; Newport Beach, CA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: semiskilled occupations in manufacture of electrical machinery and accessories, n.e.c.
College education before the war: Univ of Louisville 2 years
College education after the war: Univ of Louisville
Notes: T/5 in 1944 Christmas Program
Source: 3133rd Program, 15 Sep 1944; 3133rd roster from 10th Mountain Division Museum at Fort Drum; AES 1944 Christmas Dinner Program; photo courtesy Louisville Male High School and Ancestry®

Jim Yunker was born on August 19, 1922 in Louisville, KY, the second of five children. His father was a gas engineer with Louisville Gas & Electric.

Jim grew up in Louisville, graduating from Louisville Male High School in 1940 (where a classmate was George Tuell, who also ended up becoming a member of the Ghost Army). He then went on to study engineering at the University of Louisville. He registered for the draft at the end of his sophomore year, on June 30, 1942, and enlisted in the Signal Corps a few months later, on October 27, 1942.

On January 23, 1943 Jim married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Kaelin. Both Jim and his wife came from devout Catholic families—his youngest sister became a nun and her brother was a priest. The Yunkers would go on to have six children: James III, Ruth, Stephen, Catherine, Barbara, and Teresa.

Jim eventually found his way into the 3133 Signal Service Company, and saw service in Italy with the unit near the end of the war. After returning home, he used his GI Bill benefits to complete his engineering education at the University of Louisville, graduating in 1947.

After graduation he took a job with GE in Schenectady, NY. By 1950 he had moved to Massachusetts with GE, working his way up the ladder. The family lived in Peabody and Salem MA in the early 1950s when Jim was working at GE's Lynn, MA offices. In about 1957, he was transferred to Pittsfield in central Massachusetts as general manager of a GE unit based there. During his time in Pittsfield, he played for the YMCA chess club and won the city chess championship in 1959.

He parlayed his GE experience into a job with International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) when his former GE boss became president of ITT in Europe. In 1961 Jim moved his family to Brussels, Belgium when he became president and managing director of ITT Standard, the sales and marketing subsidiary for ITT overseas. Jim's oldest son, James III, fell in love with a young Belgian woman during their years there and they would marry in 1966.

In 1965, Jim returned stateside when he took a job as president of ITT's Cannon Electric Division, and moved the family to Pasadena, CA. In 1967 he was named general manager of ITT's Electromechanicals Component Group.

In 1968, Jim jumped ship and took a job as president and chairman of Astrodata, a company serving California's aerospace electronics industry. He was also named, with several other company presidents, to the Orange County Advisory Board of the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association. However, Astrodata appeared to be on shaky financial ground, suffering losses and layoffs before Jim resigned in 1970.

His career moves for the next 13 years are not known, but they must have been successful years since Jim and Margaret retired in 1983 to a beach house on Balboa Peninsula, a wealthy enclave of Newport Beach, CA, where he lived for the next 32 years. Margaret died in 2002; Jim died on October 8, 2015 and is buried at Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery in Huntington Beach, CA.


1922 Kentucky birth index

1930 census

1940 census

1940 high school yearbook

1941 college yearbook (he was freshman)

1942 draft card

1942 enlistment record

1943 marriage license notice in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY); shows he is in Signal Corps

1951 US city directory, Salem MA

1952 article about his promotion at GE in The Daily Item (Lynn MA)

1959 article in the Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield MA) about his career

1960 US city directory, Pittsfield MA

1961 article in the Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield MA) about his career

1964 article in the Independent Star-News (Pasadena CA) about his career

1965 article in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY) about his career

1966 Pasadena (CA) city directory

1966 son's wedding announcement in the Independent Star-News (Pasadena, CA)

1968 article in the Monroe News-Star (LA) about his career

1969 article in The Register (Santa Ana CA) about his new job at Astrodata

1970 article in the Los Angeles Times (CA) about his resignation from Astrodata

1990-1993 US public records index

1993 US public records index (Newport Beach CA)

2015 obituary in the Courier-Journal (Louisville KY),0.19918495,0.49870726,0.39327016&xid=3355&_gl=1*3t66e1*_gcl_au*NjA2MDkyMzIzLjE3MDI2NDU4MTk.*_ga*MjEwNDk0NjE3Mi4xNzAyNjQ1ODE4*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*NTk0M2FhODAtMDQyZC00NWNhLTg5N2YtYmJmMzRjYjJjZTBiLjMuMS4xNzAyNzQ5Mjg5LjQ1LjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*NTk0M2FhODAtMDQyZC00NWNhLTg5N2YtYmJmMzRjYjJjZTBiLjUuMS4xNzAyNzQ5Mjg5LjAuMC4w&_ga=2.61565359.284724063.1702643651-2104946172.1702645818

2015 Find a Grave record*123oy9u*_gcl_au*NjA2MDkyMzIzLjE3MDI2NDU4MTk.*_ga*MjEwNDk0NjE3Mi4xNzAyNjQ1ODE4*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*NTk0M2FhODAtMDQyZC00NWNhLTg5N2YtYmJmMzRjYjJjZTBiLjMuMS4xNzAyNzQ4OTcyLjU5LjAuMA..*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*NTk0M2FhODAtMDQyZC00NWNhLTg5N2YtYmJmMzRjYjJjZTBiLjUuMS4xNzAyNzQ4OTczLjAuMC4w

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