Denis N. Kuennen, age 81, of La Crosse, Wis., died on June 9, 2017 at Mayo Health System of pulmonary fibrosis.
Denis Nicholas Kuennen was born on May 28, 1936, on what was known as “the prairie” about three miles northwest of St. Lucas, Iowa. His parents were Leo Frank Kuennen and Elizabeth Mary Kuehner Kuennen. He was baptized in the Faith by Father Clarence Friedman at St. Luke Church, St. Lucas, Iowa in Fayette County. In 1941, the family moved to a farm that was purchased southwest of New Hampton. Denis received 12 years of education at St. Mary’s Grade School and New Hampton High School. It was there that he developed an interest in academics, baseball and music. He graduated from NHHS in 1954 and was captain of the baseball team. In 1958 he graduated from Loras College and in 1963 he received his Master’s Degree in Education from Catholic University. In 1976, he received a Doctor of Ministry from Aquinas Institute in Dubuque, Iowa. He taught in several high schools in Iowa and Wisconsin.
In 1983, he married Bernice Mary Lansing and they had one son Joel Lansing Kuennen. It was a special privilege when Denis was able to coach his son in Little League Baseball, teach him in religion class or take him and Bernice on many trips which included Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, Germany, Poland, France, Netherlands, Italy, Panama, China, New Zealand and Australia. Through the years, Denis has been focused on community service with the Optimist Club in Marshfield, Wisconsin, parish choir, UWL Learning in Retirement Singers, AARPAPPELLA, and as Grand Knight (2012-2014) for the Knights of Columbus Council #839 in La Crosse. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 54 years. He has been active in La Crosse Genealogical Society and family genealogy writing several chapters of family history. In the year 2000, he established the Leo and Elizabeth Kuennen Scholarship fund to honor his parents and assist graduates of New Hampton High School in their pursuit of higher education.
Denis is survived by his wife, Bernice Lansing, his son, Joel of Brooklyn, NY, and his sisters: Esther Darnell, Annapolis, MD; Sylvia Kuennen (John Cordoue), Monica Burrows (Bill) and Beth Calhoun (John) all of Sioux City, IA; and his brothers: Adrian (Ellen), Iowa City, IA; Vern (Eileen), Coon Rapids, MN; Cy (Judy) Phoenix, AZ; Mark (Fran), New Hampton, IA. He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Kuennen Bailey; parents, Elizabeth Mary Kuehner Kuennen and Leo Frank Kuennen and grandparents John H. and Theresa Martin Kuennen, Nicholas and Kathryn Hackman Kuehner.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM Monday, June 12, 2017, in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 130 Losey Blvd. So., La Crosse, Wis. Rev. Billy Dodge will officiate with burial to be held at 1:00 PM Wednesday, June 14, 2017 in St. Mary’s Cemetery, New Hampton, Iowa. Family and friends may visit from 10:00 AM until the time of Mass in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on Monday with a Rosary to be held at 10:00 AM.
Memorials are welcome in the form of a donation to the Leo and Elizabeth Kuennen Scholarship Fund, which may be sent to the Northeast Community Foundation, 3117 Green Hill Circle, Cedar Falls, IA 50613.