Norlene Mary Kunkel
August 15, 1931 – July 18, 2020
Dr. Norlene Kunkel died suddenly in her home on July 18, 2020. Norlene was born the second child of Stanley and Lillian (Lewandowski) Kunkel on August 15, 1931 in Chicago. She is preceded in death by her younger sister Patricia (Kunkel) Campbell, brother-in-law, Robert Campbell, older brother Lawrence Kunkel and sister-in-law, Frances “Butchie” (Kasten) Kunkel. She leaves behind many beloved nieces and nephews.
Norlene was raised in a devout Catholic family and joined the convent when she was just 16 years old. She was sent to attend college in Miami, Florida where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Following graduation, she devoted her life to educating children. She was principal at St. Andrew Interparochial School in Fort Worth and St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas.
She earned her Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and was later awarded a graduate assistantship toward her doctorate. She was fluent in French and Polish which she practiced during her worldwide travels doing research in the history of American Catholic Education. Following earning her PhD in Education from the University of Notre Dame where she was an associate professor, Norlene also taught graduate courses at the University of Indiana. She later took a position as a full professor at St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota and was promoted to Head of the Education Department.
While in Winona she developed a love for dogs and cats, a love for which she will be remembered. She volunteered at the humane society which lead to her hosting a weekly radio commercial called “Pick a Pet” to promote the adoption of shelter animals.
In 1985 Norlene moved to Texas to be closer to her only sister and aging mother. She took a position at Concordia University where she served as Dean of Students. While easing into retirement, she spent countless hours caring for and promoting the welfare of domestic cats. Norlene also had many dogs over the years, most of whom were named “Toby” after her first beloved dog who died in an explosion and fire that destroyed her home while she was at church in 1980.
Aunt Norlene was a strong, very independent woman who lived life the way she chose, despite advice from anyone! She was an extraordinarily generous woman. As children, we nieces and nephews had to be mindful not to mention a want or desire while in her presence or the item would be purchased and given to us shortly thereafter. She took her mother on countless vacations (sometimes with a niece and nephew in tow). The most notable was a trip to Rome to see the Pope, a dream come true for Grandma and a trip talked about for many years.
Norlene never had children of her own, but she will be missed by her many nieces and nephews on whom she doted, taught, and challenged. We believe she touched the many lives of her students over the decades of teaching others to learn and to teach.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to your local animal shelter would be appreciated.
Rest in peace, Aunt Norlene.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Norlene Mary Kunkel
August 4, 2020
Dr. Kunkel was an amazing lady! I first met her working with my dad at Graef Veterinarian Hospital. She heard from my dad that I was struggling with a class in school. She took time and scheduled dates for tutoring. I was always amazed at her life that she lived. It was amazing to know someone that had accomplished all of these amazing things. I also would receive birthday cards from her as well. She will be greatly missed. Thank you for everything.
August 4, 2020
We first met Ms. Kunkel (as we knew her) when she came into our veterinary hospital with one of her cats almost 20 years ago. There was an instant ‘click’ that grew into a friendship that spanned those years. She mentored our middle son who is now a Special Ed teacher in Georgetown. After my husband suffered a heart attack almost five years ago, she was always bringing vitamins, articles, home remedies, anything to improve his health. She remembered all the hospital staff each year at Christmastime and brought a de leche cake every year for my husband’s birthday. Most times on her visits to the clinic, she brought gifts; business cards, scrub tops, books, treats. She was very adamant in purchasing the chair to be used in the surgery room by my husband when he opened his new veterinary hospital last year. Ms. Kunkel was a very special person and the sweetest and most loyal friend ever and we will miss her and her many cats and dogs. Rest In Peace, dear lady.
July 29, 2020
Dr. Kunkel was a wonderful, caring individual. She will be greatly missed by those people and animals who knew her. My mother and I were very fortunate to have known her and called her a friend.
Jennifer and Barbara Plant