Larry Gene Kunkel, a long-time citizen of New Braunfels, passed away peacefully on August 20, 2019 at the age of 79. He was born in Bluffton, Indiana on October 30, 1939 to John and Gladys Kunkel, where he was raised and attended school until he joined the Air Force and began his travels that lead him to New Braunfels, Texas. Moving here in 1972, he started his own independent insurance agency that allowed him to plant deep roots in the community and eventually retiring from Frost Bank. In 1974 he graduated with a B.A from Texas Lutheran University. Over the years he served on both private and municipal boards and received numerous recognitions and awards for his service to the public and community, most notably being selected and recognized as Citizen of the Year in 1994.
Larry was a member of several local and international organizations. Professionally he was a member of the Chamber of Commerce as a Blue Coat, Senior Lifetime member, and was an inductee into The Hall of Honor. He was a Certified Insurance Counselor and supported the program though The Academy of Producers Studies of Texas by providing knowledge and curriculum changes as well as teaching.
He was a large supporter of the youth, especially in New Braunfels. He started his scouting career in The Rio Grande Valley as Scoutmaster, where he was inducted into the Order of the Arrow and continued his involvement alongside his son at both the troop and district level. He was eventually awarded the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award given by the BSA for Adult Volunteers. He was a founding coach of the Youth Soccer League of New Braunfels and was instrumental in acquiring the HEB soccer fields, now a part of the New Braunfels Parks Department. He also volunteered his time to the NBISD Carl Schurz campus as a tutor and mentor for H.O.S.T.S. He was a member of the Wurstfest Association since 1983, served on several committees and as a board member, obtained Senior Opa status, and was selected as Grosse Opa in 2003. Larry was also a devoted member of First United Methodist Church and served in various capacities and on committees since 1989. One of his greatest services to the community was as a member of the New Braunfels Evening Lions Club where he held every office locally and was also active at the district Level promoting Texas Lions camp and its benefits to the youth of Texas.
As Larry once wrote “Of all the activities my most rewarding and certainly one of the most enjoyable may be as Santa Claus for the Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony since 1981, where I hear the Christmas wishes of hundreds of children”. He would proudly portray this role throughout the Christmas season at schools, club meetings, and other gatherings that he was asked to attend.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents, John and Gladys Kunkel. He is survived by his wife, Jackie Kunkel; Son, Jeff Kunkel and wife Terri; daughter, Tammy Shearer Pfeuffer and husband David. Grandchildren, Julia and Garrett Kunkel and Erika and Emma Pfeuffer; sisters, Karen Friar and husband Jeff, Jill Johnson, and brother, Randy Kunkel and wife Sharon; along with several nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to Texas Lions Camp and Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Public Visitation will begin 4:00 PM Sunday at Zoeller Funeral Home and will continue until 7:00 PM. Funeral Services will be held 10:00 AM Monday, August 26, 2019 at First United Methodist Church New Braunfels with Pastor Jason Adams officiating. A Private Interment will be held later.