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James R. Brunk ( Missoula 1945 )

posted: Dec 6, 2015

Jim died December 3, 2015, at Oak Lea of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. He was born May 25, 1926, in Harrisonburg, VA. Jim's father was a history teacher at Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite H.S. at age 16 in 1941 and was drafted into Civilian Public Service (CPS) in 1943.

Jim was chosen for smokejumper training in 1945. He was one of the jumpers who helped pack seriously-injured Archie Keith over 16 miles of dead falls and no trail. Jim made one of the "cattle ship" trips to Europe before being discharged from CPS.

He enrolled in Eastern Mennonite College and then obtained his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He worked at the Blue Ridge Sanatorium in Charlottesville for seven years, before returning to the Univ. of Virginia for two more years of training in Internal Medicine. Jim then returned to his home town and practiced medicine in Harrisonburg, VA, until his retirement in the mid-1990s.

He had served on many boards including Gideons International and the Appalachian Area of the National Ski Patrol. Jim has contributed several articles of historical significance to Smokejumper magazine.