James R. Kuffel, age 92, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at the Legacy at St. Joseph surrounded by his loving family.
On August 6, 1931, Jim was born to Ladislaus and Helen (Eich) Kuffel in St. Cloud, MN. As a child, he lived all over the United States as his father traveled the country building water towers. Jim and his siblings frequently attended several different schools each year. He graduated from Cathedral High School, St. Cloud, where he met his wife, Jeanne Gnifkowski. They were united in marriage on November 22, 1956, at Holy Angels Catholic Church in St. Cloud.
Jim enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he saw action in the Korean War and achieved the rank of sergeant.
Jim graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in science education. He later earned a Master’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College, Winona, MN.
After teaching for two years in the Eden Valley, MN, school district, he and his young family moved to Kenosha where he taught in the Kenosha Unified School District for 33 years finishing his career at Bradford High School. He served as president of the Kenosha Education Association and was a delegate to the Wisconsin Education Association (WEA) and the National Education Association (NEA) conventions. During the summer months, he worked with the Kenosha Unified carpenters.
Jim was a member of Holy Rosary and St. Mary Catholic churches. He served as a lector and Eucharistic minister, taught Christian formation classes, was a member of the Parish Council, served on various committees, was the parish representative to St. Joseph High School, and was a long-time festival volunteer. After his retirement, he was active in the Serra Club, the Kenosha Jail Ministry working in the jail library, and brought communion to Brookside Care Center. He was also a dedicated blood donor.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Jeanne of 67 years; children, Ann (Larry) Penke of Sheboygan, Liz (Paul) Campion of Sheboygan, Paul (Lisa Lawler) of Kenosha, Mike (Amy) of Oostburg, Drew (Amy Bierwirth) of Kenosha, Peggy (Dan) Cairo of Kenosha, and Bill (Anne) of Waupaca; his 13 grandchildren; his two step-grandsons; his nine great-grandchildren; his brother, Don (Priscilla); his brother-in-law, Matt Symalla; his sister-in-law, Kay (Mike) O’Keefe; and many nieces and nephews.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Albert (Sam) and Catherine Gnifkowski; his sisters, Mary Briol and Jean Symalla; and his brothers-in-law and sister-in law, Ed Briol and Tom and Dorothy Gnifkowski.
The family would like to thank Dr. Stephen Feuerbach and his staff and the staff of the Legacy at St. Joseph and Hospice Alliance for their dedicated care.
A Mass of Christian Burial will Celebrated on Saturday December 30th 2023 at 11:00AM at St. Marys Catholic Church. (Corner of 73rd Street and 39th Avenue) Visitation with the family will be on Saturday at the church from 9:00AM until the time of mass. Burial will take place later.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either St. Mary Catholic Church or the Carmelite Sisters at Legacy at St. Joseph’s.