Don Kunshier, 1940-2013.
December 23, 2013
Don Kunshier, 73, passed away recently. Kunshier, of North Oaks, Minn., was an avid collector of golf artifacts and a student of golf history, especially as it related to the Minnesota golf scene.
“Don Kunshier was a long-time MGA tournament volunteer and Advisory Board member,” commented Tom Ryan, MGA executive director, adding, “but, more important, he was the curator of the MGA/PGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame Museum. He loved the history of golf and dedicated countless hours of his time and talents to promoting Minnesota golf and preserving our great history through exhibits and displays at the Hall of Fame.”
In 1989 then MGA executive director Warren Rebholz invited Kunshier to sit on the Advisory Board as the official MGA Historian. Less than a year later, Rebholz asked Kunshier to consider loaning his golf artifacts to a joint MGA-PGA project to establish a golf hall of fame in a public space within the Bunker Hills Golf Course’s clubhouse.
“After I got to know Don I was sure he could fill a void at MGA for questions that we got concerning all of the types of antiques about the game. The fact that he was specializing in Minnesota golf only made it that much better. He spent hours and hours helping to set up displays for both the original Hall of Fame and the new one. He just loved to do that and he was very good at it. He will be difficult to replace,” said Rebholz.
In 1997 Kunshier was invited by then MGA president Roger Gordon to sit on the MGA Centennial Committee and serve as Chair of the Museum and Hall of Fame Committee. Kunshier would remain in the chair for 16 years.
In the summer of 2011 Bunker Hills opened a newly renovated clubhouse, featuring a 2,000 square-foot public space dedicated to a new golf Hall of Fame. Kunshier was at the helm of the $100,000 renovation as the museum’s curator and donated several hundred items and artifacts for the museum’s golf displays. One of his personal favorites was a silver state amateur trophy won by legendary amateur star Jimmy Johnston, who had gone on a tear winning seven consecutive Minnesota amateur championships from 1921-1927. Kunshier obtained the prized artifact from a man who found it at a garage sale, and who later donated it to the Hall of Fame.
“When someone donates a club or other material, that’s very special,” Kunshier said at the time. “When you see the extent of [the Hall of Fame artifacts], it’s pretty amazing.”
Kunshier, a retired Unisys engineer and computer designer, was a member of the men’s club at Bunker Hills, and continued to play in the Unisys Company golf league, when he wasn’t volunteering at various MGA championships and qualifiers, or looking for the next important acquisition for the Hall of Fame.
“Don was instrumental in providing interesting and meaningful artifacts to the Hall of Fame, and as its curator, was always keeping the displays up to date with great topics and stories,” said Jon Tollette, the Minnesota Section PGA executive director.
The MGA/PGA Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame currently features more than 100 items and artifacts on display, with several hundred more in storage, says Tollette. The Hall of Fame museum and its displays are free and open to the public (museum hours are the same as the clubhouse).
A memorial for Kunshier is planned for Sunday January 19 at the Bunker Hills Golf Course.