LOSTANT — Aloysius John “Al” Kunkel, 93, of Lostant died peacefully, surrounded by family at 12:12 a.m. Thursday, July 19, 2018, at his home.
He was born on Sept. 4, 1924, to the late August and Teresa (Blume) Kunkel of Granville. Al attended grade school in a one-room schoolhouse (The Gehm School) then went on to graduate in 1942 at St. Bede Academy in Peru. His senior yearbook listed him as Intramural Boxing Champ (2, 3, and 4). He served in the Navy on the U.S.S. Vesuvius supply ship in the World War II Pacific Theater of Operations from December of 1944 until July of 1946.
He married Mary Rita Ehrnthaller on April 22, 1950, at St. Ann’s Church in Toluca. They are parents of John (Linda), George (Rochelle), Thomas (Laurel), Andrew (Debbie), Rosemary (James) Wall, Virginia (Steve) Jesiolowski, Stephen (Mary), Charles (Laurie), Paul (Debbie), Christina (Timothy) Corcoran, Daniel (Maria), William, Elizabeth (Herman) Emmerling and Dennis (Amy).
Al farmed in LaSalle County his whole life until his retirement in 1994, when his sons Tom and Steve took over the farming operations, while he continued to assist as long as he was able.
Always providing for his ever-expanding family, one night after supper, in the 1960s, when the family needed more bedrooms and another bathroom, he started the home expansion by digging the basement in the back yard while Rita rushed around saving her peonies. Now those bedrooms serve as the guest rooms for out of town family members.
He was an active member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Mt. Palatine, serving as a trustee and caretaker including St. Mary’s Cemetery. Later he attended St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Lostant. Al was also a member of the McNabb American Legion, the Farm Bureau and past vice-president of his local National Farmers Organization. He also served as Grand Knight in the Henry Knights of Columbus.
In 2003, Al was awarded the Pere Marquette Award from the Diocese of Peoria for his dedication and work for the church. In 2008 he received the St. Bede Award “which recognizes an individual who successfully practiced the Benedictine ideals in his daily life.”
He is survived by 12 children; 33 grandchildren (15 of whom are married); 24 great-grandchildren; six step-grandchildren (four of whom are married) and 18 step great-grandchildren; brothers, Richard, Joseph, Lawrence, Eugene and Chris and one sister, Teresa (OSF).
He was preceded in death by his spouse, Mary “Rita”; children, William and Paul; great-grandchild, Max Imilian Bowser; his parents; and brothers, August and Kenneth.
A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, at St. Mary’s Church in Wenona with the Franciscan Friars officiating. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Mt. Palatine with full military rites conducted by Granville American Legion Post 180.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 23, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Lostant with recital of the Rosary at 3:30 p.m. and a prayer service at 7 p.m. Additional visitation will be from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary’s Church in Wenona.
His grandchildren will serve as pallbearers.
Memorials may be directed to St. Bede Academy, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church of Lostant, The Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton Iowa or Horizon House.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Mueller Funeral Home in Lostant. The online guestbook may be viewed and memories shared at www.MuellerFH.com.