James Kuenzi smiling at the camera (circa 2017)
In loving memory of

James Berton Kuenzi


His Story

James Berton Kuenzi was born on December 2, 1934, to Ted and Gracia (Rundel) Kuenzi in Silverton, OR. His sister, Joyce, was two and a half years older than he was.

Jim went to Middle Grove Elementary School in Salem and Parrish Junior High School in Salem for two years before his family moved to a farm and he transferred to Silverton Union High School.

Jim lived on the farm until he joined the Army during the time of the Korean War. By the time he reached Korea, the truce had been signed. He was stationed in Washington, Maryland, and California before and after returning from Korea. He had the opportunity to go to Japan as well.

The return to the Salem area came in 1956 when he was discharged. Jim enrolled at Willamette University planning to do a civil engineering program which would take him to Stanford University for graduate work. He lived at home most of this time and decided to go to the church his parents were attending. Jim came to know the Lord while going to that small Southern Baptist Church.

Jim and Pat met the summer of 1958 when she came down to visit his parents with their cousins who had married while he was in the Army. The two were suspicious of a setup by their cousins. Whatever it was, it worked out well. They were engaged soon and married a little over a year later. It was right after their marriage that Jim became ill and was diagnosed with MS. Thankfully, he received good direction from the head of the neurology department at what was then the U of O Medical School. Eventually Jim was able to work for the State of Oregon.

Their daughters, Kristin and Kathleen, were born during these years of health challenges. The family was blessed to grow together in the Lord at Salem Alliance Church and add grandchildren, Josh (Xiomara), Nick (Chauncey), Nathan (Brigit), Katie, and Miles, and great grandchildren, Jesse, Naomi and Myka over the years. Many good times were spent with all of them and their families gathering at their home.

2014 brought another challenge for Jim and Pat as they sold their long-time home in Keizer and moved to Beaverton to be closer to family. Jim enjoyed taking part in the activities that he could... church, bingo, cribbage and visiting with many people over the years at meals at Hearthstone. Every meal was a social event! The best times were spent with family during their many visits.

His Character

Jim had a quick wit and a ready sense of humor. He always had an ear out for a good new joke that he would share with friends and family. He was well-read and skilled at math and logic puzzles, and each of his children and grandchildren benefitted from his help on homework. His wide-ranging knowledge allowed him to converse eloquently on many subjects, a favorite pastime of his.

Forever the wanderer, Jim took the scenic route as often as he could, exploring Salem and the Willamette valley. His inclination for travel meant that he kept his cars in tip-top condition, washing them weekly and servicing them regularly. He extended his concern to his children's and grandchildren's vehicles, often following up his enquiry of "how are you?" with "... and how is your car?"

Jim was patient, kind and generous. For years after his retirement from the State of Oregon, he volunteered to file taxes for retirees, friends, and family. In addition to making sure his family's cars were in working order, he made sure his visiting children and grandchildren left with full gas tanks, full bellies, and full wallets.

‍He was adept at card and board games, playing regularly with his wife, Pat, his children, his neighbors, and anyone else he could entice to sit down for a game. He could be very competitive and there were, at various times, games forbidden from being played in his house because he either won too often or lost too often. In his years at Hearthstone, the retirement community, he played bingo and cribbage for nickels, amassing a small poke of quarters and dollars.

His love of mystery books and detective shows lasted his whole life. He watched reruns of Perry Mason and NCIS and loaned out his considerable library of books to family and friends. He enjoyed watching golf and football games, especially with his son-in-law, Rick.

Throughout his whole life, Jim attended church regularly and enjoyed participating in Bible study groups. His faith was calm, considered, and steadfast, much like every other facet of his life. He served in many ways at Salem Alliance Church, of which he was a member for 45 years.

His Legacy

Jim is survived by his wife, Pat, his daughters, Kristin (with husband, Rick) and Kathleen (with husband, Karl), his grandchildren Josh (and Xiomara), Nick (and Chauncey), Katie, Nathan (and Brigit), and Miles, and his great-grandchildren, Jesse, Naomi, and Myka.

Born December 2nd, 1934
Passed October 13th, 2020
Forever in our hearts


Jim has been interred at Crescent Grove Cemetery in Tigard, Oregon. His funeral was held October 30th, 2020, and his eulogy was delivered by his grandson, Pastor Joshua Gard. Family shared some wonderful memories while they gathered together.

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