Willard P. Kunze, 83, of Palmer, died Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
Services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Palmer. The Rev. John Doolittle will officiate. Inurnment will be in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Palmer.
Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the church.
Peters Funeral Home of St. Paul is assisting the family.
Memorials are suggested to the family for later designation.
Willard (Willy) was born on June 12, 1940, in St. Paul, the son of Theodore A. and Grace L. (Feddersen) Kunze. He grew up in the Palmer area and attended Palmer Public Schools and was a 1958 graduate of Palmer High School.
On Jan. 21, 1961, he was united in marriage to Carla K. Lange in Wolbach. Together they raised 4 kids, Kevin, Connie, David and Tim. They were married for 62 years.
Willard was a longtime area mechanic. He began working at Schuppan’s in Grand Island and later for Southard’s Implement in St. Paul. In the early 1970’s he started up Kunze’s Repair in Palmer, which he owned and operated until his retirement in 2005. After retirement he did maintenance and books for Maplewood Corner.
Willard was a longtime member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, the Palmer Volunteer Fire Department and had served on the Village Board. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, woodworking, watching birds in his backyard and most of all going to grandchildren events, and spending time with his family.
He is survived by his wife, Carla Kunze of Palmer; children and spouses, Kevin and Kelly Kunze of Palmer, Connie and Brett Hoeft of Kearney, David and Steph Kunze of Phillips and Tim and Jennifer Kunze of Palmer; ten grandchildren, Kory and Cynthia Kunze, Karina and Reed Johnston, Kyle and Haley Kunze, Justin Hoeft, Amber and Greg Liggett, Autumn Kunze and Matt Rice, Sienna Kunze, Drake Kunze, Allie Kunze and Clara Kunze; ten great-grandchildren, Kellsie, Estyn, Lyla, McKrey, McKoy, Kreason, Foster, Graham, Maddox and Jovie; sisters and brothers-in-law, Selma Ferguson of Nelson, Margaret Hansen of Brayton, IA, Lavon and Chris Wunderlich of Gilbert, AZ and Jim Spitz of Columbus; Carla’s sisters and brothers-in-law, Marlene and Larry Mostek of St. Paul, Dianna Merriman of Lincoln, Donna Anderson of Wolbach, Kathy Mahrt of Wolbach and Sherri and Bob Molt of Spalding; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers and sister-in-law, Warren and Patricia Kunze, and Daryl Kunze; sister, Liana Spitz; in- laws, Carl and LaFerne Lange; brothers-in-law, Earl Ferguson, Ron Hansen, Gerald Lothrop, Tom Merriman, Vic Anderson and Melvin Mahrt.