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James K. Sunshine
June 3, 1924 ~ December 27, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old
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James K. Sunshine died at Kendal at Oberlin retirement community December 27, 2023, after a brief illness. He was 99.
Born in Cleveland Heights on June 3, 1924, Jim was the son of the late William B. and Ann (Kaufman) Sunshine. His father had immigrated to the United States from Hungary at age 14 and was a traveling salesman. Entering Oberlin College in 1942, Jim left in the middle of his freshman year to volunteer for service in World War II. He served in the European Theater as a surgical technician in the 42nd Field Hospital from the Utah Beach landing to the end of the war. After the war he returned to Oberlin, married Anne Fassett, a fellow Oberlin College student, in 1948, and graduated in 1949. He worked for a year on the Kaukauna (Wis.) Times before earning a master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism.
In 1951 Jim joined the staff of the Providence Journal, where he was a reporter and editor for 44 years. He became the paper’s first education editor in 1953, winning national awards for his coverage of the field in the 1950s. He served terms as president of the national Education Writers Association and of the New England Association of Newspaper Editors. Toward the end of his career he specialized in the application of computers to news writing and editing. He retired in 1995 as deputy executive editor of the newspaper.
After raising their family in Providence, Jim and Anne retired to southern Rhode Island, where Anne died in 1999. In 2005 Jim returned to Oberlin to live at the Kendal retirement center on the edge of the Oberlin College campus.
Jim loved Kendal, and Kendal loved Jim. He volunteered every week in the Kendal library and built shelves for the library in the Kendal woodshop. Working in the community garden, each year he raised a plentiful harvest of tomatoes and peppers and shared them with other residents. He audited classes at the college, riding there on his bicycle as long as his back and knees allowed. He greatly enjoyed theater trips to London led by retired Oberlin English Department faculty.
Jim is survived by daughter Catherine Sunshine, of Washington, DC; son Thomas Sunshine, of Liberty, SC; grandchildren Cynthia Minter, Anna Sunshine, and James Sunshine II; son-in-law Bill Minter; sister-in-law Marcia Grimm and five nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by parents, wife Anne F. Sunshine, and a brother Robert Sunshine.
A memorial service will be held at Kendal at Oberlin on January 27, 2024, at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the James K. Sunshine ’46 and Anne Fassett Sunshine ’47 Endowed Scholarship Fund, which assists students who are the first in their immediate family to attend college. Donations to the Fund may be sent to Oberlin College, PO Box 72110, Cleveland OH 44192-0002. Donations can also be made electronically at https://advance.oberlin.edu/donate (in the dropdown menu, select “Other” and then type in “Sunshine Endowed Scholarship”).