Long-time Castaic Area Town Council member John Kunak dies of apparent heart attack

John Kunak with his daughter Kelley.

Long-standing member of the Castaic Area Town Council John Kunak was found dead Thursday inside his Castaic home, according to first responders dispatched to his home.

At least three emergency response officials, when asked about the medical emergency call placed Thursday to Yosemite Drive where he lives, confirmed the deceased man to be John Kunak.

John Kunak.

Shortly before 1:30 p.m. Thursday, paramedics with the Los Angeles County Fire Department were dispatched to a home on Yosemite Drive in Castaic.

“The call was for a cardiac arrest,” according to a Fire Department official.

Lt. Leo Bauer, of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, confirmed that the man was found deceased inside a home on Yosemite Drive was in fact John Kunak.

“This man was found deceased, but we don’t know if it was a heart attack,” he said.

Bauer said he was in the process of notifying other officials including the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner/Coroner and, as a matter of protocol, detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau.

All early indications suggested Kunak died of natural causes.

A spokesman for the Homicide Bureau told The Signal at 2:40 p.m. that a detective was being assigned to the case on Yosemite Drive.

Kunak, who was re-elected to the Castaic Area Town Council last November, served as chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee.

He worked as a successful practicing attorney for more than 30 years having acquired vast experience fighting for clients in the legal arena of personal injury and real property.

He was his own boss at the Law Office of John N. Kunak.

When he went to bat for many insurance clients, challenging insurance companies on behalf of the little guy, he emerged more often than not with verdicts in their favor.  Kunak described the success rate as: “practically every trial.”

John Kunak, seated sixth from the left, on the Castaic Town Council during a town council meeting at the Castaic Union School District offices in Castaic on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

But, Kunak led similar fights at the community level, seldom backing down from a challenge to do the right thing and see the right thing done.

His current time on Castaic Area Town Council marked his third term as a Councilman.

He also served two terms as a Trustee of the Castaic Union School District and was actively involved in a number of volunteer organizations including but not limited to Lion’s Club and Castaic Education Foundation.

In the course of carrying out his civic duties, Kunak was named Volunteer of the Year and Man of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and Town Council.

Kunak and his wife, Mary, recently celebrated the graduation of their daughter, Kelley, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, with a minor in Business Administration, from USC.

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