Longtime Dayton businessman, philanthropist dies

DAYTON — Longtime Dayton businessman, philanthropist, and champion of local Catholic schools Peter Kuntz has died.

Kuntz died Tuesday at the age of 93.

Kuntz served as president of his family’s namesake foundation, a supporting organization of the Dayton Foundation, and was involved with a myriad of philanthropic efforts around the Dayton area.

A devout Catholic, Kuntz was involved in the initial capital campaign to construct both Alter and Carroll high schools.

“He felt a strong sense of service to the community, to give back,” his son, Peter Kuntz, Jr., said. “He was a great man, but more importantly he was a good man. Even though he was born of some privilege, he approached his entire life with humility and what you would hope the Catholic religion — or any religion — would stand for: he was a servant leader.”

The Kuntz family’s philanthropic ventures span four generations and three centuries. Kuntz was employed in various capacities at the Dayton-based PK Lumber Company, alongside his elder brother Martin. The family business was founded by his grandfather, Peter Kuntz, Sr., and operated 65 lumberyards in Ohio, Florida, Texas and Indiana. As one of the most prominent lumber companies of the time, Kuntz Sr. charged his lumber yards with collecting money to distribute to their local communities. The family formalized those efforts in 1946, when they established their namesake foundation, headquartered in Dayton.

Since then, the Kuntz Foundation has awarded more than $10 million to dozens of charities, including the Catholic Church Extension Society, Montgomery County College Promise and the University of Dayton. The Peter H. and Marjorie C. Kuntz Designated Fund awards grants to students attending Alter, Carroll and Chaminade-Julienne high schools.

His children are still active in the organization today.

“Because the Kuntz Foundation is still in existence, we’re carrying on the tradition that he, his brothers, sisters and father wanted,” his daughter Ellen Quinttus said. “We’re carrying it on by continuing the foundation, serving the needs of children, people in need, the arts, and Catholic schools.”

PK Lumber was sold to Michigan-based Erb Lumber Company in 1986, and in 1990, the nonprofit was changed to a supporting organization of The Dayton Foundation.

“Throughout his lifetime, Pete gave selflessly of his time, talent and treasure for others. He cared deeply about Dayton and worked tirelessly to help make our community a better place for all. Pete was a shining example of what it means to be a true community servant,” said Mike Parks, Dayton Foundation President.

Kuntz attended Chaminade High School, where he met his wife Marjorie, who attended Julienne. They both graduated from the University of Dayton and were married in 1950.

The couple were members of St. Albert the Great Church, raised funds for urban schools in Dayton. Kuntz served on boards including Mercy Siena Woods Nursing Home, Miami Valley Catholic Education Council, Ohio Lumbermen’s Association, The Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center, and Human Race Theater Company. He was a member of the Dayton Rotary Club and served on the University of Dayton Board of Trustees, including a term as President.

He received numerous accolades from his alma mater and was named an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Dayton.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions may be made to St. Albert the Great Church, The Christ Child Society of Dayton, Chaminade-Julienne High School or another charity.

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