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Former Port Chief Executive Dies

James H. McJunkin, 82, helped usher in new era for Long Beach

January 3, 2012

James H. McJunkin, who served as the Port of Long Beach General Manager from 1977 to 1988, died Monday, January 2.

McJunkin, 82, first joined the Port in 1963 in the Operations Division. He was later promoted to Assistant General Manager before succeeding Thomas J. Thorley as the Port’s top executive. The position of general manager was later renamed executive director.

Under McJunkin’s leadership, the Port of Long Beach became one of the largest seaports in the world and the nation’s second busiest container port. He oversaw the development of the World Trade Center complex, and is credited with helping spearhead some of the most significant trade-related projects in the region, including the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) rail yard and the Alameda Corridor rail expressway.

McJunkin was born in Gallup, New Mexico, on January 29, 1929. He attended grade school on a Navajo reservation in Arizona, high school in Winslow, Arizona, and graduated from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1951. He joined the U.S. Navy and first saw Long Beach from the deck of a Navy hospital ship.

Before being hired by the Port, McJunkin was Director of the Northern California Ports and Terminals Bureau and also served as Traffic Manager for the Port of Sacramento. After retiring from the Port of Long Beach, McJunkin worked many years as a consultant to the maritime industry.

McJunkin is survived by wife Mary and their four children: Sarah, Martha, James and Joseph. The couple lived in Long Beach.

Services are scheduled for Friday, January 6, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Cornelius Catholic Church, 5500 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach. Burial will follow at All Souls Cemetery, 4400 Cherry Ave., Long Beach.

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