Ruth Kunkel Wiederaenders

Ruth Kunkel Wiederaenders of Clifton, TX died peacefully on Sept. 12, 2018. Funeral services were held Sept. 17 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clifton with the Rev. Brian McQuiggin officiating. Burial followed in the Clifton Cemetery. Visitation was at Immanuel Lutheran Church prior to the service.

Ruth Emilie Pauline Kunkel was born on Jan. 22, 1914, at her grandparents’ home in Olney, TX. She was the second of five children born to Adolph M. and Emilie (Conrad) Kunkel. She was baptized Aug. 9, 1914, at her grandparents’ home in Womack, TX, and confirmed into the Lutheran faith on April 10, 1927, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clifton.

Ruth graduated from Clifton High School in 1931 as Valedictorian of her class. She then completed an Associate Degree from Clifton Lutheran College and graduated Valedictorian of her class in 1933. Before beginning a teaching career, she completed additional coursework in Home Economics at North Texas State University during the summer of 1934. She also continued her study of music in Clifton during the winters of 1933 and 1934. Then, beginning in the Fall of 1934, Ruth accepted her first teaching position in Aleman, TX, where she taught third and fourth grades as well as high school Home Economics. Beginning Fall 1935, she taught for two years at White Hall, Texas, with responsibility for third and fourth grades and high school English.

Ruth’s career took a new direction on May 27, 1937, when she married Rev. Roland P. Wiederaenders, who was also from Clifton. Her role as a minister’s wife began in Houston, TX where Rev. Wiederaenders was ordained into the ministry and then installed as the first pastor of Grace Lutheran Church. As a minister’s wife, her life evolved with each pastoral assignment including Houston from 1937 to 1941, St. Louis from 1940 to 1942, San Antonio from 1942 to 1958, Corpus Christi from 1958 to 1962, and finally St. Louis from 1962 to 1974 when Rev. Wiederaenders served as First Vice President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Ruth was active in each church often fulfilling multiple responsibilities: pianist, organist, Sunday School teacher, substitute school teacher and member of LWML.

As the pastor’s wife, she always opened her heart to the church members as well as anyone who came to the Pastor for help. She was a constant support to her husband throughout his ministry and until his death.

Throughout Ruth’s life, she also played the role of caregiver. She gave birth to and raised seven healthy children. She also cared for other family members during prolonged illnesses including her mother, Emilie Kunkel from 1967 until her death in 1981; her brother, Conrad from January 1982 until his death seven months later; and finally her beloved husband Roland from 1980 until his death in 1995.

Even during the most challenging times in her life, Ruth maintained a strong belief in God’s love and forgiveness and gave credit to Him for her many blessings.

In addition to Ruth’s responsibilities as a pastor’s wife, mother, homemaker, and caregiver, she still found time to develop her accounting skills, to read as much as possible about nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and playing her piano, a hobby that she continued into her 90’s. Throughout her life, Ruth always took pride in doing her very best regardless of the task before her.

Her family fondly remembers her as faithful, persevering, conscientious, intelligent, hard-working, organized, frugal, selfless, and supportive. In death as in life, she will remain in the hearts of her family and friends as well as the many people she touched throughout her life.

She is preceded in death by her husband Rev. Roland P. Wiederaenders; parents Adolph and Emilie Kunkel; brothers Conrad Kunkel and Eugene Kunkel; sisters, Louise McKnight and Anita Ladwig; brothers-in-law, Ben McKnight and Walter Ladwig; sons-in-law, Dr. George Casey and Rev. Peter Diebenow; and infant grandson Eric Wiederaenders.

Ruth is survived by her children Roland Wiederaenders II; Anita Diebenow; John Wiederaenders and his wife Lupe (Rojas) Wiederaenders; Miriam Casey and her husband Bob Wohlsen; Elizabeth Seeley and her husband Richard Seeley; James Wiederaenders and his wife Lee (Holt) Wiederaenders; Karen Davis and her husband Tim Davis. She is survived by 11 grandchildren: Roland Wiederaenders III and Matthew Wiederaenders; Steven Diebenow and his wife Ashley (Idol) Diebenow and Nathan Diebenow; David Casey; Julia Seeley and Ian Seeley; Maury Wiederaenders and Evan Wiederaenders; Shelby Davis and Elliot Davis. Also, surviving are seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers were her grandsons Roland Wiederaenders III, Matthew Wiederaenders, Steven Diebenow, Nathan Diebenow, David Casey, Ian Seeley, Elliot Davis and Evan Wiederaenders as well as her nephew Rev. David McKnight. Honorary pallbearers are her great-grandsons Erich Diebenow, Cormac Wiederaenders and Coen Wiederaenders.  

Memorials may be sent to Immanuel Lutheran Church, 911 W. 3rd , Clifton, TX 76634 or to The Lutheran Hour, 330 Mason Ridge Center Drive, St. Louis, MO 63141.

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