Cover photo for Thomas Dunkers's Obituary
Thomas Dunkers Profile Photo
1934 Tom 2024

Thomas Dunkers

March 13, 1934 — June 24, 2024

Carlilse, Massachusetts

Thomas Dunkers of Carlisle, MA, was born in California, PA, to Susan Popovec and Peter Dunkers on March 13, 1934. He lived in California, PA, and then Charleroi, PA, with his brother Don Dunkers. After his biological father’s death, Susan Dunkers married Alec Theys, and Tom welcomed in his stepsister Denise Theys and half-sisters Diana and Susan Theys. 

Tom attended grade school in Charleroi, and studied Mechanical Engineering, with an Aeronautical Option at Carnegie Mellon University, becoming the first in his family to attend college. He was part of the ROTC program and served as 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Corp of Engineers. After an honorable discharge, he took a position with Grumman Aircraft where he met lifelong friends Dave and Peggy Howes. In 1960 he introduced them to the woman he intended to marry, Karen Zamiska, the cousin of his brother’s wife. Six weeks after becoming engaged they were married on February 11th.

Tom and Karen lived in upstate NY and later welcomed their first child, Heather, followed by their second child Heidi. In 1967 the family took residence in Brigantine NJ, while Tom worked as a Systems Analyst for MITRE to develop new air traffic control systems. It was here that he built lasting friendships with, Al and Alice MacDonald. In 1974 after almost seven years in NJ, his innovative work at MITRE provided the opportunity to work on RADAR and air traffic control systems in England. The family relocated here for over five years, making a lasting friendship with Mike Parkes and family. 

Tom and his family returned to the USA, and settled in Carlisle MA for the remainder of his life; developing many more deep and lasting friendships.

Tom Dunkers was best known for his great bear hugs, Christmas letters, poetry, political and philosophical debates, and generosity of his time. He believed in helping friends and neighbors, and taking care of his family, whom he always put first. But most of all he believed in love. 

Tom Dunkers passed on June 24th, 2024, at one PM surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Karen Dunkers, his daughter Heather Pannell, her husband Lawrence Pannell, and their children Justin and Anna, his daughter Heidi Lakita Dunkers, his sister Diana Kleiner, his sister Susan Carr, and many nephews and nieces, all of whom he loved very much. He will be deeply missed.

Cremation will take place at Mount Auburn Cemetery. A Memorial Celebration of Thomas Dunkers’ life will be held this October, with a date to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to:
Carlisle Council of Aging,
Carlisle Town Hall
66 Westford Street
Carlisle, MA 01741

or to the Re-elect Biden Campaign,

or plant flowers or a tree in his memory.


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