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home : news : obituaries October 20, 2017

Jeanne Voelker Punderson, mother of priest

Jeanne Voelker Punderson, a long-time resident of Island Heights and mother of Msgr. Joseph R. Punderson, who has served in the Trenton Diocese, died April 7. She was 96.

Born in 1919, Mrs. Punderson grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, N.Y. She was a graduate of St. Anselm School, Bay Ridge, St. Angela Hall Academy, Brooklyn, and the College of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, where she earned a bachelor of science degree.

Following her college graduation, she worked for several years as a dietitian in Bellevue Hospital, New York. On June 12, 1943, she married Lt. James M. Punderson, USNR, an airship pilot, in the Cathedral of the Air in Lakehurst. Together they raised nine children. After moving from Lakehurst where the family attended St. John Church, to Toms River, she became active in St. Joseph Parish and its altar-rosary society.

Mrs. Punderson was active in the PTA of St. Joseph Grade School, where her nine children attended, and St. Joseph High School PTA, from where seven of the nine children were graduates. The two oldest children had graduated from St. Rose High School, Belmar.

In addition to assisting with various fund-raising events in St. Joseph Parish, Mrs. Punderson was active in the Century Club, which raises money for scholarships. In 2010, she was honored with an award by the Century Club. She was also a charter member of the St. Joseph Endowment Committee for Catholic Education and was their distinguished honoree in 2002. Since 1992, she was a trustee of St. Gertrude Church, Island Heights, where she also served as a volunteer sacristan. In the wider community her volunteer services included Birthright of Toms River.

Mrs. Punderson also enjoyed traveling, spending time with her family and learning how to use social media.

Mrs. Punderson was predeceased by her husband, Jim, her parents; a brother; a sister-in-law; a cousin, and other friends and relatives. In addition to Msgr. Punderson, she is survived by her other eight children – Katharine P. Collins, Madeira Beach, Fla.; Jaime (Sarah), Island Heights; Jeann (Bill) Gross, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Margaret (Julian) Convey, Buckeystown, Md.; Mary P. Henderson, Island Heights; John (Doris), Titusville, Fla.; Jerry (Karen), Mount Holly, Va., and Laura (Peter) McGuigan, Wall; 18 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Burial was in St. Joseph Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to Birthright of Toms River, 36 W. Water St., Toms River, N.J. 08753, or the St. Joseph Endowment Fund for Catholic Education, St. Joseph Parish, 685 Hooper Ave., Toms River, N.J. 08753.

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