Posted: Wednesday Feb 22, 2012
February 22, 2012
Edmund Tunitis, P’46, has always been well grounded, whether he was at his lifelong work as an international banker with Philadelphia National Bank or flying cross country in one of his single-engine planes, because of the foundation he received as a young man at Saint Vincent Preparatory School.
The “pleasant flow of warm memories about Saint Vincent” that Mr. Tunitis shares easily at the age of 84 begins with a long list of Benedictine priests who made a difference in his life – Frs. Edmund Cuneo, Egbert Donovan, Warren Raab, Ulrich Thaner, Christian LeFrois, Louis Sedlacko, Camillus Long, and “15 or 16 others.”
It was their influence that led him to create five charitable gift annuities, a simple agreement with Saint Vincent that provides annual payments to him throughout his retirement years in exchange for assets he owns. He has also established other annuities with the Salvation Army, Saint Ann’s Church in Emmaus, and a religious organization in Wisconsin.
“I got hooked on this opportunity because it provides a dependable and attractive source of current income for our living expenses,” Mr. Tunitis explained. “And it is a great way for me to stay connected with Saint Vincent in appreciation for the real influence it had on my life. The Benedictines kept me straight.”
Mr. Tunitis, who has six children, 15 grandchildren and four great grandchildren, has already made provisions for all of them. But the memories of his early days in the Prep School encouraged him to provide for Saint Vincent as well.
“Fr. Edmund, headmaster of the Prep, his assistant Fr. Egbert (later Archabbot) and Fr. Warren were the most influential on my life,” Mr. Tunitis recalled. “Fr. Camillus also influenced me greatly. He designed and worked around the golf course. I used to play golf with him and a few other classmates just about every day during our free time.”
“Fr. Edmund used to tell my mother and father that I was the first person named Edmund to attend the Prep – but the second Edmund at Saint Vincent since he was the first,” he laughed.
Mr. Tunitis also recalls some excellent fishing he and his friends enjoyed at Saint Vincent Lake. “The Gristmill used to attract a lot of earthworms and we would stop there on our way to the lake and gather some to use as bait. One time I went with my classmates, the late Bill Dewhurst and Charles Lucker, to the boathouse after hours and put one of the rowboats into the water, sailed down the creek all the way to downtown Latrobe and anchored it under the bridge. One of the ‘dayhops’ had a truck and helped us haul it back to Saint Vincent where Fr. Warren was waiting for us because we missed bed check.”
His fondest memories are of the late Fr. Louis. “Fr. Louis was first class,” Mr. Tunitis said. “He was the one who took my mother and me up to the dormitory on my first day to show me my bed. I remember sitting on it and saying to him that this is sort of a narrow contraption here isn’t it and he said, oh, you’ll get used to it. He was my first prefect and I also had him in my second year so he spent a lot of time with us. I have arranged for the remainder of our annuity to honor him with a scholarship.”
Mr. Tunitis appreciates the financial arrangement he has made with Saint Vincent and hopes other alumni of the Prep and College will consider a similar gift. “Some of these annuities pay me over 9% interest,” he noted. “Where else can a guy get that kind of return?”
Mr. Tunitis, who celebrated his 84th birthday on March 8, enjoys his life in Macungie, Pennsylvania, with Joan. They celebrated six decades together on August 11. After a lifetime of travel – more than 30 cruises to Europe and South America – and an active hobby as a pilot doing acrobatic and cross country flying in two single engine planes he owned, they are now content to enjoy their home and each other’s company.
He still has about a hundred model airplanes and does “a little bit of painting” as well. He stopped golfing and bowling last year but still enjoys working outside in his yard meticulously trimming the hedges and tending to flowers of all kinds. And recalling fond memories of his early days at Saint Vincent.
Edmund Tunitis, P’46, after graduating from Saint Vincent Preparatory School.
Edmund Tunitis, P’46, left, greets Jack Fetsko at the New London Airport where he kept his aerobatic Citabria airplane.
Joan and Edmund Tunitis in 1999.
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