The Passing of My Father

Dr Ken Lunde
6 min readNov 10, 2022

By Dr Ken Lunde

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Remembering one’s father is an overwhelmingly emotional experience, particularly when it is immediately after he has crossed the threshold to a far better place. I never experienced the passing of a parent until now, and it is without a doubt one of the most painful things I have ever had to endure.

A great light has gone out in our universe

My father, Vernon Delano Lunde, was a great man, and passed away on the evening of 2022-11-06 in my parents’ home in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He was born on 1935-08-20, was 87 years old, and was enormously respected by a great many people whose lives he touched. In addition to being a husband and a father, he was also a pilot, an archer, a hunter, a marksman, a fly fisherman, and a veteran. My father was also a Viking. He was the youngest of three siblings. His sister, Ludell Heuser, passed away on 2008-05-12 at the age of 88. His brother, Raymond Lunde, passed away on 2008-12-27 at the age of 91, and was a Pearl Harbor survivor. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Jeanne Mae Lunde, three children (Kern, Kitrin, and myself), seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

My parents retired from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, where my siblings and I were raised, to Hot Springs, South Dakota at the very end of 2004, and I subsequently started to visit them at least once a year, but usually twice. My visits involved driving from our home in San José, California to Hot Springs, which is just under 1,400 miles each way. The last six visits—in 2019, 2020, 2021, and this year—involved driving my Tesla Model 3, Baby Pearl.

There are at least two reasons why I decided to drive to Hot Springs instead of flying:

  • My father and I hunted together often, which meant varmints in Spring/Summer, and larger game in Fall, and it is much easier to transport rifles and ammunition using a vehicle rather than on an airplane.
  • Almost without fail, I brought along wine and liquor for my father, which is most definitely easier—and downright possible—to do using a vehicle. His most-requested wine was Charles Shaw (aka “Two Buck Chuck”) Chardonnay from Trader Joe’s, and his most-requested liquor was gin, though he sometimes requested other spirits, such as brandy or bourbon.

I enjoyed each and every visit to Hot Springs, and I now treasure those experiences with my father, because they can no longer be repeated. We liked to spend quality time on the deck of their home, which was particularly enjoyable from late afternoon to early evening. I am sad that I can no longer listen to the many stories that he would tell from his younger days.

My father, Vernon Delano Lunde (photo taken on 2016-06-30 in Hot Springs, South Dakota)

Impossibility was a favorite topic of my father who taught me that nothing was impossible. He was also a big fan of the notion that if something looked wrong, it was probably wrong. This important notion, which I learned from my father, is the reason why my career of 28+ years at Adobe ended abruptly.

Many of life’s lessons were taught to me by my father, and I can truthfully claim that my dad was never wrong about any of them.

My father impressed into me at an early age a great respect not only for firearms, but for weapons of any kind. This eventually led me to found the Adobe Shooters League that I ended up managing for a solid 19 years. In his later years, we did a lot of target shooting together, he taught me how to handload my own rifle ammunition (for accuracy), and we hunted together often, which included varmints, such as black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus), and larger game, which was usually pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana). The last time that we hunted together was on 2022-07-09, which was less than four months before his passing. Those are experiences and memories that I will forever cherish. I wouldn’t possess these skills if it weren’t for him.

Speaking of weapons, my father was a big fan of knives, and he once told me that only three materials are suitable for use as a knife handle: stag, stag, or stag. And, if stag is not available, stag can be used instead. On a more serious note, my father gave to me and to each of my siblings several years ago one of his Randall Made knives. The one I received was a Model 1 with a seven-inch stainless steel blade on which his name was etched. Of course, its handle material is stag.

I feel blessed that my parents were able to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on 2021-08-18, and we arranged a nice dinner with friends and family that involved working on a 6-liter bottle of Vintage 2005 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

My parents (photo taken on 2021-08-19 in Hot Springs, South Dakota)

Parents live on in the memories and behavior of their children, and their children carry the proverbial torch and pass it along to their own children. How I raised my children is a direct reflection of how I was raised by my parents.

Life is a long series of farewells; only the circumstances should surprise us. A knight concerns himself with gratitude for the life he has been given. He does not fear death, for the work one knight begins, others may finish — Rules for a Knight, Chapter XX, Death

I somewhat unexpectedly drove to Hot Springs on 2022-10-01, and arrived the very next day. I spent the next two weeks there, comforting my mother, and spending valuable time with my father. The last time that I saw my father was on 2022-10-13, which was the day before I drove back to California. None of us had any idea that he would leave us so quickly.

The Lunde Family (photo taken on 2022-10-10 in Hot Springs, South Dakota)

Rest in peace, Dad. You made me the person that I became, and I shall forever be in your debt. When we meet again, I will bring the gin…

About the Author

Dr Ken Lunde has worked for Apple as a Font Developer since 2021-08-02 (and was in the same role as a contractor from 2020-01-16 through 2021-07-30), is the author of CJKV Information Processing Second Edition (O’Reilly Media, 2009), and earned BA (1987), MA (1988), and PhD (1994) degrees in linguistics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to working at Apple, he worked at Adobe for over twenty-eight years — from 1991-07-01 to 2019-10-18 — specializing in CJKV Type Development, meaning that he architected and developed fonts for East Asian typefaces, along with the standards and specifications on which they are based. He architected and developed the Adobe-branded “Source Han” (Source Han Sans, Source Han Serif, and Source Han Mono) and Google-branded “Noto CJK” (Noto Sans CJK and Noto Serif CJK) open source Pan-CJK typeface families that were released in 2014, 2017, and 2019, and published over 300 articles on Adobe’s now-static CJK Type Blog. Ken serves as the Unicode Consortium’s IVD (Ideographic Variation Database) Registrar, attends UTC and IRG meetings, participates in the Unicode Editorial Committee, became an individual Unicode Life Member in 2018, received the 2018 Unicode Bulldog Award, was a Unicode Technical Director from 2018 to 2020, became a Vice-Chair of the Emoji Subcommittee in 2019, published UTN #43 (Unihan Database Property “kStrange) in 2020, became the Chair of the CJK & Unihan Group in 2021, and published UTN #45 (Unihan Property History) in 2022. He and his wife, Hitomi, are proud owners of a His & Hers pair of acceleration-boosted 2018 LR Dual Motor AWD Tesla Model 3 EVs.

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Dr Ken Lunde

Chair, Unicode® CJK & Unihan Group—Almaden Valley—San José—CA—USA—NW Hemisphere—Terra—Sol—Orion-Cygnus Arm—Milky Way—Local Group—Laniakea Supercluster