Professor J. Kenneth Kuntz ‘59 B.D.

Date of death: 
Friday, December 8, 2023
Ken was born January 20, 1934 in St. Louis, MO to John and Zula Kuntz. He died December 8, 2023 at his home at Oaknoll with his wife by his side.
Ken earned a BA degree in English with honors from Grinnell College. He was an avid supporter of that college and served as class agent for fourteen years. Ken then earned a Bachelor of Divinity in Biblical Studies from Yale University Divinity School where he served several years on the Alumni Council. Ken received his Ph.D. degree in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. It was at Union where Ken met his wife and partner of 61 years, Ruth Stanley. Together they made a home in Massachusetts for four years where Ken taught at Wellesley College.
In 1967 the School of Religion at the University of Iowa offered Ken a position teaching Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and related courses. Ken received several research grants: one to support participation in an archaeological excavation at Tell Gezer, Israel; an Old Gold Faculty Research Fellowship; a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for summer research; and a stipend for research at the Ruprecht-Karl University in Heidelberg, Germany with two later three-month extensions. Ken was a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England. At the same time, he was a Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Oriental Studies. Ken retired in 2006, but continued teaching via correspondence courses and Senior College. Ken’s former students honored him with a Festschrift of essays.
Ken was an ordained Methodist minister, serving primarily as a teacher/professor. Ken was organist/choir director at the Methodist Church in Kalona for a couple of years, and part-time pastor of South Bethel United Methodist Church south of Tipton for four years. Ken especially enjoyed classical music. He was a member of the Congregational United Church of Christ, and the Oaknotes Choir at his residence.
His family loved Ken deeply and treasure their many memories. Colleagues agree that Ken was a model of sociability: a wonderful, kind, and supportive person in good times and times of stress. Ken’s students held him as an outstanding teacher and scholar, and a good honorable person who was kind and supportive as he encouraged them in their studies. Family and friends will remember Ken’s math skills, his photographic memory for dates, jokes and the long stories he loved to tell anyone with time to listen.
We thank the many people who cared for Ken during his life, and comforted him in his last days, including University of Iowa Hospital personnel, Iowa City Hospice, and the Oaknoll staff and residents.
The schedule for January services may be found on the Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service’s website. In lieu of flowers Ken asked that donors consider memorial gifts to support students at Grinnell College, Yale University Divinity School, Oaknoll Retirement Residence, or to the donor’s favorite charity.