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Msgr. Michael J. Yunk

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Msgr. Michael J. Yunk, a longtime Army chaplain, died July 30, 2020. He was 89 years old.

Born May 31, 1931, in Williamsville, the son of Martin and Dolores (Smith) Yunk attended SS. Peter & Paul Elementary School in Williamsville and the Seminary of St. Joseph and the Little Flower in Buffalo. He continued his education at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure, earning a bachelor’s degree. He also studied at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, graduating in 1957. Later, he earned a master’s degree from Long Island University.

Msgr. Yunk was ordained April 6, 1957, in Innsbruck by Bishop Paul Rousch.

His first assignment took him to St. Elizabeth Mission in Cheery Creek for one year. He then served as assistant at St. Mary Parish in Lockport. In 1964, he was assigned as assistant at St. Mary of Sorrows in Buffalo.

Beginning in 1966, he served as a U.S. Army chaplain, a role that took him to Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Germany, Georgia, Kansas and Louisiana. He retired from the Army in 1993 as a colonel. He earned a Bronze Star for his efforts.

In 1993, he was named a prelate of honor by Pope John Paul II, taking on the title monsignor.

In 1994, he returned to St. Mary’s in Lockport, now as pastor, where he served until his Aug. 31, 2000, retirement. He kept active as a temporary assignment as administrator at St. Leo the Great Parish in Amherst.

He is predeceased by his parents and his sister, Grace Bickel.

Msgr. Yunk laid in-state at St. Leo the Great Church on Aug. 3. A funeral Mass was celebrated on Aug. 4, at at St. Leo the Great Church.

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