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Rainer Kuenzel

March 5, 1936 — October 22, 2023

Kerrville, Texas

Rainer Kuenzel

 

 

Rainer Kuenzel of Hunt, Texas, took his final breath on October 22, 2023, at 87 years of age, in nearby Kerrville, Texas. A private memorial gathering is pending.

 

Rainer Kuenzel first saw the light of this world in the City of Pretin in Germany on March 5, 1936, to mother Erna (Änne), geb. Kneuse, and father Karl Kuenzel.  It was an interval of relative quiet between the two world wars, but as Germany developed plans to attack, his father moved the family (which included an older brother, Horst) toward the eastern front, into the area that would later become Poland.  In his early childhood in the town of Mensguth (now Dzwierzuty), Rainer saw pictures and films of America in school, and began daydreaming of moving to this land of prosperity and sunlight, far away from the cold, hungry environment of his early years.  It was there that his sister, Marie Louise (Marlies) was born in 1940.

 

In 1944, the stories of atrocities during the Gumbinnen Operation signaled to his mother to prepare the family to flee their home, which then occurred pursuant to a letter from their father, who knew that a second offensive by Russia would be imminent.  This inside information allowed the family to flee west, a few months prior to the mass evacuation that would later occur as the eastern front collapsed. 

 

For financial and educational reasons, the young boys were divided between aunts and uncles, and Rainer continued school in Mühlhausen.  Once again, he was impressed by the Americans, this time in person.  The well-dressed, friendly soldiers gave him candy.  Rainer then continued upper grades in Offenbach (1947-1948) and then in Krautheim and Buchen (1948-1952).  Schooling was often disrupted due to the war.  Many of Rainer’s skills and abilities came through his talents, as fueled by his endless curiosity for technical matters.  He taught himself to play the cello - classical music was the only “real” music, in his opinion.  He also began wood carving and furniture making at an early age - these abilities would come in handy in their first home. 

 

Acquaintances of his parents landed Rainer a coveted internship at a foundry, his first introduction to metal works.  His boss there led to further connections to an engineering school and a practicum at a patent drafting firm in Mannheim, which in turn led to a full-time position in Düsseldorf, an engineering firm specializing in metal lubrication systems.  

 

It was during one of those technical school semesters that he met his future wife, Monika Losch, in 1958 in Iserlohn.  They married in 1962, and had a daughter, Änne Sabine, one year later.  Their son, Ingo, would be born two years after that, right after Rainer was finally able to make his dream of emigrating to America a reality.

 

The couple learned how to speak English, and Rainer’s reputation for invention and artful ink drawings spread in Houston, even during the one and a half years he spent working in the aircraft building industry in Seattle.  He was enticed back to Houston by the promise of becoming self-employed, with a group of potential clients eager for his return to Texas. 

 

The young family moved back to Houston.  Rainer and Monika remained there from 1967 to 1998.  The couple lived for most of these years in an art-deco home with a unique view of the Stony Creek, on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou. They enjoyed life that Houston and Texas had to offer, especially when they entertained extended family members that visited from Germany. One of Rainer’s greatest passions was soaring in sailplanes, but he waited patiently until Ingo was old enough to start, so the two of them could learn together.  Rainer enjoyed soaring in gliders, introducing his son to this hobby.  When he wasn’t hard at work, he was scratching out inventions of his own.  He helped others invent and develop their ideas, and had several patents of his own.  No matter where he went, his mind would be occupied with thoughts of how to do things better.  He would be seen doodling on napkins and scratch paper in many different situations. 

 

In 1995, the couple again began to daydream about the next phase of their life, having reached and surpassed many of their set milestones. The mountains beckoned, and they lucked upon a lot with a beautiful view of the Guadalupe valley. In 1996 they moved to Kerrville and began building their home in Hunt, Texas, on a hill they call Japonica.

 

Once Ingo and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Colorado, most of his travels focused on visits to Durango, and later to Colorado Springs, to visit that family, now four-strong with the addition of Samuel Joshua in 1995, and Grace Aenne in 2000.

 

Rainer’s technical talents occupied much of his efforts, yet he also provided the foundation to ensure his family would experience a better life than the one of his childhood.  These efforts often extended to the larger family, including in particular his youngest brother-in-law, Udo Losch, and his nephew, Jan Kuenzel, mentoring them in their pursuits. 

 

Rainer was preceded in death by his wife, Monika; parents, Karl and Erna; by brother, Horst; and by grandson, Noah Joachim.  He is survived by his son, Ingo and his wife Jennifer; daughter, Sabine Aenne; grandchildren, Samuel and Grace; and sister Marlies.

 

Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Kerrville Funeral Home. (830)895-5111

 

 

 

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