Kenneth Kuennen

Kenneth Kuennen



Kenneth Kuennen, age 89, of Decorah, IA, died on Saturday, June 2, 2018, at his home in Decorah, IA.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by the Rev. Kyle Digmann on Friday, June 8, at St. Luke Catholic Church in St. Lucas.

Interment was in the church cemetery. Military rites were conducted by the St. Lucas American Legion Post, Turkey River VFW, and the U.S. Army.

Casket bearers were Wayne Smith, Marianne Huinker, Ken Bodensteiner, Joel Smith, Clair Blong, and Daniel Kuennen. Honorary casket bearers were Tim Kuennen and James Schneberger.

Arrangements were handled by Schluter-Balik Funeral Home in Decorah.

Kenneth Clair Kuennen was born on Oct. 13, 1928 in St. Lucas, Iowa, to Albert and Philomena (Minnie) Schneberger Kuennen. 

He was baptized in his faith by Father Paul Kirchhoff, assistant pastor at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Lucas.  

All 12 years of his education were received at St. Luke’s Catholic School, taught by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Rose Convent in La Crosse, Wis.. 

Ken started his career in hardware at the age of 9, working at George Kruse’s hardware store nailing egg cases together. 

When cousin Victor Kuennen bought the store and started selling Oliver and New Idea farm machinery and Studebaker cars, Ken worked in all positions until he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War in 1951.  

On June 11, 1951, Ken was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Bodensteiner, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Lucas. After serving 15 months in Korea, he received his discharge and resumed working at the hardware and implement business. 

Ken and Lorraine became owners of Ken’s Hardware on Jan. 1, 1956. They immediately joined the S&Q Franchise Program and became Ken’s S&Q Store. In 1960, they joined the Coast to Coast Stores organization, and from then until Ken’s retirement in 1992, their store was known as Ken’s Coast to Coast. In 1994, they donated their store building to the Town of St. Lucas to be used as a City Hall and Community Center.  

From boyhood on, Ken enjoyed the outdoors, hunting and fishing, and being batboy for the town baseball team, the St. Lucas Pirates. Later, he played on the team for many years. Sunday afternoons at Schnebergers were special; they could muster up two baseball teams. He took up golf when the South Winn Country Club was established. 

Ken served on the Town Council for many years, also on the Parish Council and the Parochial School Board. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus. For over 50 years he was a member of the St. Lucas American Legion Post, and also joined the Turkey River Veterans of Foreign Wars Post when it was formed. 

In 1999, Ken and Lorraine sold the country home they had built and moved to Vennehjem, a new retirees’ apartment complex in Decorah, where they enjoyed making many new friends, and without yard work, they had extra time to do many of the things they still wanted to do. 

Ken very much enjoyed being a Winneshiek County Census taker in 2000. He also enjoyed the extra amenities of a college town, such as concerts and Tuesday Seminars.  

They were still close enough to their hometown to remain members of St. Luke’s Catholic Church. In 2003 they became founding members of the St. Lucas Historical Society, where they have been very involved in preserving their beloved school, as well as in the formation of the German-American Museum.  

Kenneth is survived by his daughter, Kathleen “Kathe” Kuennen of Decorah, IA; and one son, Paul Kuennen of Urbandale, IA.  

Kenneth was preceded in death by his wife, Lorraine, in 2012; a son, Jimmy, in 1965; his father and mother, Albert Kuennen in 1983 and Minnie (Schneberger) Kuennen in 1951; a brother, Marvin Kuennen, in 1997; a sister, Arlene Smith, in 1998; his father- and mother-in-law, Ben Bodensteiner in 1978 and Rose (Rausch) Bodensteiner in 1980.               24u24

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