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Lunney, J. Robert December 15, 1927 - March 10, 2022

J. Robert Lunney died peacefully surrounded by his wife and son on Thursday March 10th at the age of 94.  He was born on 15 December 1927 in New York City. Bob was admired by all that knew him for his commitment to family, his humor, passion for history, and dedication to the many organizations he was a member of.

Enlisting in the Navy at 17, during World War ll, he served with the Naval Amphibious Forces, Pacific (Marshall Islands and Mariana Islands) 1945-46. During the Korean War he served in Korea, 1950-1951, with the Military Sea Transportation Service as a staff officer (Inchon Landing; Hungnam Evacuation). His awards include the Navy Combat Action Ribbon, Merchant Marine Gallant Ship Citation and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. His Gallant Ship Citation commends Admiral Lunney for his courage and resourcefulness in participating in “one of the greatest marine rescues in the history of the world” at Hungnam, North Korea during December 1950. The Guinness Book of World Records cites this wartime action as, “The greatest rescue operation ever by a single ship by evacuating 14,000 refugees” threatened with annihilation.

He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree (1950) from Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y. and a Doctor of Law degree (1954) from Cornell Law School, Ithaca, N.Y. He served five years with the Department of Justice as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, SDNY (1955-1959) and later spent nine years with Shearman & Sterling. On Aug. 14, 1963 The New York Times reported on its first page that he was the first northern lawyer to provide legal assistance to voter registration drives in Mississippi. He later founded his own firm specializing in litigation.

By appointment of the Secretary of the Navy he served a three-year term on the National Naval Reserve Policy Board. He retired from the Navy Reserve as a Captain in 1987, having completed 43 years service, at which time the Governor of N.Y. promoted him to Rear Admiral in the New York Naval Militia.

In 1994 the Secretary of the Navy decorated Admiral Lunney with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award for outstanding service, the highest form of public service recognition bestowed by the Navy. In 1997 and 1998 Admiral Lunney, having been designated by the Department of Defense, observed joint operations by American and North Korean military personnel in North Korea recovering American war dead and conferred with the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on POW/MIA issues.

Admiral Lunney was awarded the Order of the Croatian Trefoil by the President of Croatia in 2007 for his determined efforts in finding the next of kin of Peter Tomich.  Tomich, born in Croatia, had been awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life to save his men during the attack on Pearl Harbor and his family had never been found.

In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Politics by Woosuk University, Korea in recognition of his extraordinary humanitarian service during the Korean War.

Admiral Lunney was the past Natl. Pres. of the Association of the U.S. Navy. His other memberships include the Knights of Malta (American Assn.); Natl. Guard & Naval Militia Relief Society of  NY ( past Chairman); Sons of the Revolution (past Natl. Pres.); NY Council, Navy League of U.S. (past Pres.); Naval Order of the U.S. (past Commander, NY Commandery); Knights Templar (past UN Representative); The Chosin Few, Inc. (past Natl. Director); U.S. Naval Service Personnel Educational Assistance Fund, Inc. (Bd. Directors); Knights Templar (past U.N. Representative); Lavelle School for the Blind (Bd. Trustees) and Lavelle Fund for the Blind (Bd. Directors.)

He was a private pilot, scuba diver, skier and a former sky-diver.

He will be missed greatly by his wife of 46 years, Joan, and their son Alex and his wife Melissa.

Calling Hours: 4 to 8 pm, Monday, March 14, 2022

Mass:  9:45am, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, St. Joseph;s Church, Bronxville, NY

To Live Stream the Mass: Please Click Here


  1. REPLY
    Lu Caldara says

    We will all miss Bob and his grand smile and light humor. Semper Fidelis, Sir.

  2. REPLY
    Phyllis Zagano says

    Fair winds, following seas, sir.

    • REPLY
      Marie Biondo says

      I was never able to meet Bob but I’m very thankful for his joining Ancestry. He was my first and most significant relation. Due to his connection I was able to find my beautiful sister, Christine Lunney Jaffe!

  3. REPLY
    Greg Keshishian says

    Bob was an unforgettable person of great intelligence and perceptiveness. His life and leadership taught us about goodness and service. Thanks Bob. Rest in peace.

  4. REPLY
    Corinne Devereux MD says

    Good night sweet prince. Let Angels sing thee to thy rest

  5. REPLY
    Corinne Devereux says

    Good night sweet prince Let flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest

  6. REPLY
    Paolo Burburan says

    Mr. Lunney left a lasting impression on our family. His kindness and thoughtfulness will always be remembered.

  7. REPLY
    Alisa Scalley says

    We are so sad for your loss. Our father, Jack Scalley was a loving and dedicated cousin to Bobby. He spoke of him often throughout his lifetime. We remember him as an accomplished, intelligent, debonair man. Having flown with him was a thrill.! Watching the Ship of Miracles interview was so powerful. Bobby will be greatly missed.

    Alisa, John, Maryanne & Chris

  8. REPLY
    Mary Buckley & Family. Family of the late Peter Buckley formally of Leamonaghan Ballycumber. Offaly. Ireland says

    Condolence to Joan, Alex,Melissa on the passing of Bob. Fond memories of our visit to Bronksville some years ago. May his gentle soul Rest in peace. He was a real gentleman.

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    Loreta and Robert Muskardin says

    Our sincere condolences for the loss of your Husband and Father. Mr. Lunney will forever live in our memory as an exceptional man, full of compassion and empathy , always in great mood and full of wonderful stories which were spoken with wit and humor. He has been generous also with our Croatian nation in more than one way. Mr.Lunney and his family have been the beacon of light and constant support. Mr.Lunney, rest in Peace and may God bless you. I have no doubt that he is with other Angels now.
    With fond and loving memories,

  10. REPLY
    Catriona daly says

    My condolences to Joan , Alex and Melissa . May Bob rest in peace . My dad loved meeting him when is visited a few years ago
    Catriona daly ( Guinan) offaly

  11. REPLY
    Chan Ham says

    Thank you SIR!!! You and your teams heroic actions and sacrifice made what Korea is today. You will be always remembered. CH (MAJ) Chan Ham, US ARMY

  12. REPLY
    HooJung Jones says

    My hero- Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Robert Lunney
    March 15, 2022
    Dear Hon. Rick Scott Senator and Mr. Brandon Morales.
    Thank you very much for sending your personal handwritten “Thank you” card and it is greatly appreciated. Your dedicated staff always helped to honor and remember the Korean War Veterans who are our heroes. Sadly, we learned that our associate, Rear Admiral(Ret’d) Robert Lunney has passed a few days ago. He served in WWII and the Korean War. As a crew member of the US Merchant Navy, SS Meredith Victory, he helped to save 14,000 Korean refugees including my mother, grandparents, uncles and aunts and 5 new born babies named Kimchi1,2,3,4 and 5 born on the ship on the Christmas Eve (Hungnam Evacuation) during the Korean War. Bob and I are the members of the Guild and friends for The Cause for Servant of God Brother Marinus, O.S.B. (Captain Leonard LaRue, a captain of US Merchant Navy Ship, Meredith Victory became a monk, Brother Marinus.) Several years ago, Bob asked me to join as a guild member and asked me to write a support letter to Father Sinclair Oubre. I gladly wrote the support letter and became a member of the guild, Friend for the cause and a donor. Here is his video “Last Ship in Harbour” from the Korea Society and I have been playing this video at our annual Korean War Veterans Appreciation Luncheons.
    Here is the YARDARM (Royal Canadian Naval Veterans Newsletter) 2013 newsletter. My article is about the Meredith Victory and the Bob’s message is in page 10. I have been a contributing author for 9 years for YARDARM regarding the Korean War Veterans and events.
    “Ms. HooJung Jones, Many thanks for your very kind note together with the fine medallion, “We will never forget” which arrived today. It must be remembered that it was Captain Leonard P. LaRue, Master of the Meredith Victory, who once said, “I think often of that voyage. I think of how such a small vessel was able to hold so many persons and surmount endless perils without harm to a soul. And as I think, the clear, unmistakable message comes to me that on that Christmastide, in the bleak and bitter waters off the shores of Korea, God’s own hand was at the helm of my ship.” However it would be Captain LaRue (later Brother Marinus) who would be the first to say that the real heroes of the Hungnam Evacuation were the Korean refugees who sacrificed everything to obtain their freedom. Respectfully and many thanks for your good work to commemorate the service of all who helped preserve the integrity and freedom of Korea.” -Bob Lunney
    Bob lived a full life, serving in the WWII, Korea and he became a senior naval officer, a successful lawyer, community volunteer and a leader receiving many medals, citations and accolades. Most of all, he was my Korean War hero who helped to save my mother. I would not be born without him and the Meredith Victory’s crew members. Bob will be greatly missed by many people including me. May God embrace him with his divine love. I would like to echo your “Thank you” to all Korean War Veterans including Bob.
    Best Regards, HooJung Jones Kennedy

  13. REPLY
    Chang-Young, Ryu says

    South Koreans are deeply saddened and would like to express sincere condolence to the late Rear Admiral J. Robert Lunney, rescuing so many North Koreans freed from commnuists.

    We will remember you and sacrifice forever.

  14. REPLY
    Dong-Kwon Min says

    We are remembering what you have done to desperate Korean people during the Korean War. It will stay as War Remembered with heroes like you. I express full respect. Rest in peace in Heaven.

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