Oscar E. (Pete) Kunkel

February 1, 2014 • Obituaries


Kunkel,-PeteServices are scheduled at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at Immanuel Lutheran Church for Oscar E. (Pete) Kunkel, who passed away on Jan. 31, 2014. Rev. Daniel Preauner of Immanuel Lutheran Church will officiate.

Pete was born Aug. 5, 1925, [auth] in Dexter, to Oscar T. and Mary S. Kunkel. They have both preceded him in death.

He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Roswell. He was confirmed on Palm Sunday, April 6, 1941, at Immanuel Lutheran Church. His confirmation verse was John 15:7. On June 14, 1949, he married Dorothy O. Osborne at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Pete is survived by four sons: Bud Kunkel and his wife, Laura, of Roswell, Tim Kunkel and his wife, Pat, of Artesia, Bob Kunkel and his wife, Pat, of Albuquerque, and Ted Kunkel, of Richland, Wash.; three sisters: Mary Ellen Tisler, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Thelma Klein, of Hopewell, Va.; and Elva Leinberger, of Roswell; eight grandchildren: Katy Kunkel Arvidson, of Eagle River, Ala.; Jill Kunkel Williams, of Riegelsville, Pa.; Matthew Kunkel, of Socorro; Amy Kunkel Everitt, of Roswell; David Kunkel, of Albuquerque; Chuck Kunkel, of El Prado; Kim Kunkel Bishop, of Clovis; Molly Kunkel, of Santa Fe; two great-grandchildren: Josephine Williams, of Riegelsville, Pa.; Naomi Kunkel of El Prado; and numerous nieces and nephews.

One sister, Elsie Clark, and one brother, John Kunkel, predeceased Pete.

Pete graduated from Dexter High School in 1943. His initial military service was in the Army from 1944 to 1946. He was assigned to a training unit in Alabama and was in the post-WWII occupation forces on Kyushu Island in Japan. He later served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1950 to 1970 and attained the rank of captain. He attended New Mexico A&M from 1946 to 1948. He transferred to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and graduated with a degree in Agricultural Operations in June 1950.

After graduation from Iowa State University, Pete and Dorothy returned to Dexter, to operate the homeplace farm. Pete also operated other farms in the Dexter and Roswell area and a farm near Hooper, Colorado. Pete and Dorothy raised their family, ensuring they were baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Roswell.

Even though Pete and his family lived 20-plus miles south of Roswell, the Church was the focus of family activities. Pete served in virtually all positions on the ILC board of directors and always ensured his sons were at Sunday services and Sunday School, Saturday morning confirmation classes, and youth activities on Sunday evenings. Pete later served as a member of the Rocky Mountain District board of directors for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Pete honored his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with his life in how he conducted his business and with everyone in which he came in contact. His example of putting Christ and others first in his life will always be remembered by family, friends and business associates.

Pete was a respected member of the Dexter community. He served for several years on the Dexter School Board, as had his father before him. He was a very active member of the community, especially when considering raising four sons. He coached Little League and assisted in their high school activities. He was instrumental in developing a strong 4-H program in Dexter and Chaves County.

During these years, he developed the largest registered sheep flock in New Mexico, selling club lambs from California to Texas to Kansas. In 2010, Pete was honored for his many years of service to the agricultural community in Southeastern New Mexico when he was selected to serve as grand marshal for the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. He was honored in 2012 by being inducted into the Dexter High School Hall of Fame.

Pete’s second career began after 1968, when the homeplace farm was hailed out three years in a row and the farm feedlot lost over two hundred head of cattle. That forced a new career to support his family. He became involved in the real estate appraisal business as a Chaves County appraiser, an appraiser for Pioneer Savings and Loan for about eight years, and then started his own appraisal firm in the early 1980s.

Kunkel and Associates grew into the largest full-service real estate appraisal firm in Southern New Mexico. Pete began by providing residential appraisal services and continued to expand his services providing agricultural and commercial services, primarily in Southeastern New Mexico. He became the go-to appraiser for dairy appraisal services for the rapidly expanding dairy industry in Southern New Mexico, but especially Chaves, Roosevelt, Curry, and Lea counties.

Pete was highly respected in the appraisal profession. He earned his RM designation from the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and served as the first president of the New Mexico-West Texas Chapter of the Appraisal Institute in 1990, after the merger of the two predecessor professional appraisal organizations.

After an extremely successful business and professional career, having served in many leadership positions, and receiving several awards for service throughout his working career, Pete still remained an active church member. He could be counted on to always be present at Sunday morning service and Bible class and Tuesday morning Bible study. His church and his strong belief in God, upheld him after Dorothy’s passing in November 2010. His desire for those following him is that they always recognize and encourage their children and grandchildren to have faith in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.

Honorary pallbearers are: Ed Osborne, Segundo Armendariz, Gene Balderston, Gene Peterson, Rev. O.E. Krohn, and Donald Kuykendall.

The family requests that memorials be made to the Immanuel Lutheran School, 1405 North Sycamore, Roswell, NM 88201. We want to acknowledge and especially thank Mary Coker and the staff with Frontier Medical, the staff with Personal Care by Design, and the staff at the New Mexico Rehabilitation Center, Villa Del Rey, La Villa, and Mission Arch Care Center who did everything in their power to take excellent care of Pete.

You may provide your condolences on-line at

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of LaGrone Funeral Chapel.

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