HomeObituariesE. Eugene Kunzman, M.D.

E. Eugene Kunzman, M.D.

E. Eugene Kunzman, M.D.
February 16, 1937 – July 29, 2018

Gene Kunzman—extraordinary husband, brother, father, grandpa, physician, and friend—died on July 29, 2018 after a long illness. Born and raised in rural western New York, Gene excelled in school and caused mischief when he got bored. After graduating from Forestville Central School in 1955, he took a Greyhound Bus to California and worked his way through two years at Pasadena City College. This earned him an academic scholarship to USC, and his undergraduate performance there earned him another academic scholarship, this time to the USC School of Medicine. Gene especially loved working with children and decided to enter the field of pediatrics, which led him to an internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. It was here he was smitten by a young nurse, Lucy Ann Rosenberger, and they were married in 1965.

After a three-year sojourn in Philadelphia and Boston for more training and a commission in the U.S. Public Health Service, Gene and Lucy returned to Southern California in 1968 to start a family. His professional focus shifted to child and adult psychiatry, and he spent a decade at the Arcadia Mental Health Center and served on the faculty at the USC Medical Center. In 1985 he was appointed Medical Director at the L.A. County Central Men’s Jail, and he fully retired in 2010. His professional accomplishments were many, but Dr. Gene was above all a patient advocate who listened carefully and acted compassionately.

Gene’s commitment to his patients was only exceeded by his devotion to his family, and evenings and weekends saw him coaching Susan’s softball and Rob’s baseball teams when they were young, and cheering them on from the sidelines during their teenage years. His work life was spent in some very dark places filled with troubled minds and souls, but he never brought that darkness back home; his family and neighbors always recognized the cheerful whistling that signaled his return at the end of each day.

In addition to Gene’s many formal service roles in his church and community, a regular highlight for him was his Over-the-Hill Softball game on Wednesday nights.

“Gene Gene the Pitching Machine” was a founding member of the squad in 1982 and kept playing until well into his 70s. He judged the quality of his pitching based on the number of home runs he allowed—the more the better, as it meant everyone was having fun.

Gene loved cats and tolerated dogs. He leaves behind Tigger the cat, who eats flowers. With this in mind, his family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Gene’s honor to Friends of the Crowell Public Library, the Lewy Body Dementia Association, or Elizabeth House in Pasadena. Services will be held on Monday, August 13 at 11:00 a.m. at San Marino Community Church, 1750 Virginia Road, San Marino with a reception immediately following in the church’s Fellowship Hall.

Gene was a great listener, a wise and gentle counselor, and a man whose life was marked by kindness and generosity toward others—acts both small and significant, done quietly, and often discovered by his family long after the fact. They look forward to hearing about more of these deeds in the days and years to come.

Gene is survived by Lucy Ann, his wife of 53 years; brothers Greg and Mark; a daughter Susan and her husband Aaron; a son Robert and his wife Audra; and five grandchildren: Selena, Elliot, Zoe, Kira, and Hannah. His legacy will live on in them, and they are grateful beyond words.


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