Jack Dell Lunnen, 72, died peacefully in his home on January 5, 2021, surrounded by loving
family and friends. A native of Riverside CA, he was preceded in death by his parents,
Jack Clark and Ermie Evelyn Lunnen (Boothe).
He achieved the rank of Staff Sargent in the United States Air Force and served his country in
Vietnam for more than 2 years. He received an undergraduate degree in physical therapy from
California State University - Fresno, and a Master’s degree in physical therapy with a focus on
biomechanics from The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Jack lived in Sylva for 42 years, working as a physical therapist in home health for many years
and then assuming more administrative responsibilities as Director of Rehabilitation Services.
He was always a generous advocate for individuals with disabilities in the community and
helped to found Physically Challenged, Inc. and make Balsam Lake and Lodge accessible.
He loved baseball and was active as a mentor to his three sons and a coach for a variety of
teams from Little League to traveling club teams. He was also an avid bicyclist riding on the
Blue Ridge Parkway almost daily with his long term friend, Jim Shanley.
Jack always had a project, often restoring classic cars, refinishing furniture, or creating special
places to enjoy nature. The interests and activities of his family were supported in a variety of
ways, including in recent years the volleyball and horseback riding pursuits of his two
He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Linda Bianchi Lunnen; daughters, Olivia and
Emily of the home; previous wife, Karen Yundt Lunnen, and their sons, Benjamin (Hollie)
of Trinity, NC; Andrew (Missy) of Charleston, SC; and Jacob (Amanda) of Cleveland, TN; and sisters, Connie Durham (John), Ginny Campbell (Ron), and Margie Allison. He cherished his family and his steadfast love was unquestioned, extending to his 5 grandsons, Grey, Reece, William, Knox and John), 1 granddaughter (Kingsley), and numerous nieces and
A Celebration of Jack’s Life will be held on a beautiful spring day in the future.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Ridge Parkway
Conservation Fund (https://www.conservationfund.org/projects/blue-ridge-parkway),
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (www.pancan.org or 877 272-6226) or RollingStart NC, a
local non-profit that takes used cars and makes them safe, clean, and mechanically sound for
families in need, at 83 Meadow View Drive, Sylva, NC 28779.