Bernard Clayton Kuenzel was born in Eagle Bend, MN on May 19, 1927, the sixth child of Henry and Laura Kuenzel. He attended school in Eagle Bend. On June 4, 1949, he married Audrey Huwe at Bethel Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN. Six children were born to their marriage: Gary, Nancy, Bruce, Karla, Julie and Kurt. He died in the promise of the resurrection on Sunday, February 5, 2023.
Bernie and Audrey lived in many wonderful places that they called home, some of which included Great Falls, MT, where they raised their six children, Capistrano Beach, CA where they were house parents for six developmentally disabled adults and Albuquerque, NM, where they spent their final years at Manzano del Sol.
Bernie started his young adult life serving his country in both the Korean War and WWII. He was blessed to participate in the Honor Flight program in his early 90’s. He had a very winsome personality, and coupled with his wit and humor, he was a natural salesman, a profession he held most of his adult life. If you crossed his path, you could expect to be greeted with a smile, a wave, a conversation or an invitation because he wanted everyone to know that they truly mattered and they weren’t invisible.
Bernie and Audrey loved to travel, and in their retirement, they spent many summers travelling to visit their children, grandchildren, extended family and friends, both in the United States and internationally. Their love for the Lord also led them to serve in many different states and communities, helping with church building projects through Laborers for Christ. He and Audrey put many miles on their motorhomes through the years.
Although Bernie grew weary of the cold Montana winters, and he and Audrey moved down south upon retiring, his love for Montana and its beauty never left. Even into his early 90’s, he would fly to Montana each summer to go fishing on Lake Frances and enjoy the beauty of Glacier Park and the Rocky Mountains. When his health finally prevented him from going, he would beg to go just one more time. Bernie also loved to garden and spent his final years volunteering his time planting and watering the flowers and plants in the Rose Garden at Manzano de Sol. It was therapeutic for him.
Bernie’s love for the Lord was the focal point of his life, and church attendance was always a priority for his family. He had a beautiful tenor voice and could often be heard singing hymns throughout the house, as the family prepared for Sunday church services. One of Bernie’s favorite Bible verses that he often recited is Revelation 2:10, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” He is now wearing his crown.
Bernie leaves behind a family who loves him deeply and will miss him greatly. Until we meet again in heaven, we will miss you our beloved Dad, Papa, Great Papa and Uncle.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Audrey; his parents; two brothers and three sisters. He is survived by his children, Gary (and Wendy) Kuenzel of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; Nancy (and Michael) O’Dell of Albuquerque, NM; Bruce (and Cynthia) Kuenzel of Delano, MN; Karla (and Rick) Shelby of Montague, CA; Julie (and Randy) McCamley of Great Falls, MT; and Kurt (and Connie) Kuenzel of San Antonio, TX; thirteen grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; three brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and his beloved caregivers, CarrieAnn Maes, Monica Dominguez and Monica Wyche.
A Memorial Service will be held at Manzano del Sol, 5201 Roma Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 10, 2023 with a committal service at the Santa Fe National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. that same day. Memorials may be directed to the Garden Club at Manzano del Sol Village, 5201 Roma Ave NE, Albuquerque, MN, 87108.