Joseph “Joe” Charles Kuntscher, Sr., a native of Vattmann, Texas, was called home to dwell with Our Heavenly Father, on Monday, July 26th, 2021. He was the eldest of ten children born to Frank John and Margaret Marie Remlinger Kuntscher, in Vattmann September 8, 1935. He lived there the greater part of his life, on the home place. The original Kuntscher home was built and occupied by his paternal grandparents who arrived in the area with their young family as early as December, 1908.
In addition to the “home schooling” experience, Joe’s scholastic endeavors began in Vattmann at the Bovedo Public School while Our Lady of Consolation parochial school was being remodeled. After that time, Joe attended OLC, graduating from the parochial school at the conclusion of the eighth grade. He attended Riviera High School for four years, being an active member of the student body, participating in scholastic and sports activities. Joe graduated from RHS as salutatorian of his class.
From a young age, Joe was part of the family farm team in Vattmann. Following graduation from RHS, he was employed by his uncle, Victor Remlinger, who owned Bay Construction business, building “Q” buildings in various parts of Texas. He was then hired at Celanese in Bishop, Texas, as a contract worker in the pipe-fitter department for Arthur Brothers, and later was a full-time employee of Celanese, where he worked for 35 years until his retirement in December, 1999.
In 1960, Joe married Geraldine Jane Petru at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Raymondville, Texas. The couple made their home in Vattmann for a time, where they were active members of OLC. Eventually, they moved to Kingsville during which time they became loving parents of two children, Joseph Charles, Jr. and Cheryl Marie. In Kingsville, they were parishioners of St. Gertrude Church community. While the children were small, Joe and Geri built a home in Vattmann on the Kuntscher farm, an endeavor which required much research and labor on Joe’s part. Joe farmed part-time with his dad and continued to commute to the Celanese plant in Bishop. During this time, Geri taught in the Riviera Independent School District, a ministry which she carried out for many years.
As members of Our Lady of Consolation Parish in Vattmann, Joe and Geri were leaders various capacities. They participated in the annual parish Thanksgiving festival preparations and service. Both contributed a great deal to the life of parish and civic communities. Following in the footsteps of his dad, Frank, Joe joined the Knights of Columbus Chapter as a young man, and served as an officer in Germania Mutual company. Ever generous and mindful of the needs of others, among other services, he, with Geri’s support, helped manage his dad’s personal, financial, and medical concerns during Frank’s elder years. Later, during several years of Geri’s debilitating health challenges (Huntington’s disease), Joe was her primary caretaker, tending to her every need with loving devotion.
A “green thumb” was one of Joe’s many gifts; he grew and harvested a variety of garden produce, sharing the fruits of his labor with family and friends. Joe and Geri were famous for their cooking and baking skills. Master of hospitality, the Kuntscher couple opened their home to family members and other visitors, who looked forward to sharing delicious meals, including hearty stew, vegetables, salads, home-baked bread, and apple and zucchini strudels. Joe and Geri continued with the family tradition by hosting the annual Thanksgiving weekend celebration in conjunction with the festival at the parish hall on Thanksgiving Day. They initiated the first of many IWA scholarships in memory of their parents and other deceased family members. The scholarships initiated and sponsored specifically by Joe and Geri are those in memory of Frank and Margaret Kuntscher, Jim and Betty Petru, Joe and Geri Kuntscher and Family. Several additional scholarships are supported by them and by members of the family and extended family.
Among the predeceased members of Joe’s family are his parents, his brother-in-law Wilbur Dean Berry, Sister Juliane Kuntscher, IWBS, and several nephews and nieces. Joe is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Geraldine Jane Kuntscher; son, Joseph Charles Kuntscher, Jr.; daughter Cheryl Marie Hubert (Roger); and cherished grandchildren Nicholas Kuntscher, Sydney Kaylar Tetens, Jayson, Jaclyn, and Jayden Hubert. Also surviving are three brothers: Frank Kuntscher (Kathy), Victor Kuntscher, and Tom Remlinger (Antoinette); six sisters: Mary Berry, Eileen Riedel (Woodrow); Jeannine Weisman (James J.); Sister Michelle Marie Kuntscher, IWBS, Judy Temple (Terry); numerous nephews, nieces and cousins. Joe leaves a legacy of deep faith in God, commitment to family and friends, great work ethic, organization and initiative, and a refreshing sense of humor. He enjoyed traveling and was a master photographer and mechanic.
The visitation is on Friday, July 30, 2021 and begins at 5:00 P.M. followed by a rosary service at 7:00 P.M. at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church, Vattmann. Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at OLC on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at 10:00 AM., Father Bob Dunn and Father Andy officiating. Interment will take place in Our Lady of Consolation Cemetery.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, Masses offered for Joe’s repose; or donations may be made to Huntington’s Disease Foundation or to Incarnate Word Congregation, 5201 Lipes Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78413.
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