Rev. Richard W. Kuhn

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 7:30 pm

With great sadness and tremendous pride in a pastoral life well lived, the family of Fr. Richard (Dick) William Kuhn regret to announce his peaceful death.

Fr. Kuhn died at the age of 95 at Stonehill Health Center in Dubuque, on Friday, Jan. 26, at 4:50 p.m.

The fourth of eight children, and oldest son, Fr. Kuhn was born at the family farm in Osage, on March 18, 1928. He faced his first test at his baptism with ice-cold water from the frozen baptismal font, which was temporarily on the porch of the parish rectory due to a fire in the Sacred Heart church. Fr. Kuhn worked on the family farm and was a football player and one of the most popular young men at both Osage High School and later Loras College in Dubuque, IA. He discerned his vocation while at Loras; and upon graduation, he entered Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo. Fr. Kuhn was ordained as a Roman Catholic Priest on May 17, 1953.

He served in dozens of parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Fr. Kuhn was most recently Pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Peosta and of Holy Family Catholic Church in New Melleray. While at St. John’s, a major accomplishment was leading the effort to build the Seton Catholic School, Peosta Center.  For over 70 years, Fr. Kuhn was the bulwark of his close family and the epitome of a dedicated and faithful servant in the Archdiocese of Dubuque touching countless lives in a warm and positive way. He was well known for never forgetting a face or name and always being ready with a witty joke or pithy one-liner. Proud of his Irish heritage, he often entertained anyone that would listen with a spontaneous song. He retired from St. John’s and Holy Family in 2012 at the age of 84.

Fr. Kuhn was a Knight of Columbus and strong supporter of the Order and its principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.  He served as Council/Assembly Chaplain and Iowa State Council Chaplain.

Along with his many assignments in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Fr. Kuhn was exceptionally proud to have served as a US Navy Chaplain for six years.  Following his commissioning at Newport, RI, he served first at Naval Air Station Adak, Alaska, and then the Naval Station in San Diego, CA. During his naval service, Fr. Kuhn was proud of the fact that he was the oldest Catholic Chaplain and oldest Lieutenant in active Navy service. In his retirement, Fr. Kuhn returned to San Diego for two years as a contract civilian chaplain for the Navy. Upon his return to Dubuque County, he was active in the local American Legion Post Six. To emphasize the pride he held for his naval service, he clearly expressed his desire for burial in his Service Dress White uniform.

He travelled extensively throughout his life, often visiting family, friends and loved ones. One had to be careful not to invite him, unless they were ready for him to show up. He also visited missionary friends from seminary and college days, and brought many pilgrims to shrines and holy places.

After his retirement, Fr. Kuhn energetically continued his service filling in as needed for Mass and hearing confessions at many parishes. He resided in his former rectory in Farley, IA., where he had earlier served as Pastor.  In his final year and a half, he was pleased to serve the residents at Assisi Village and Stonehill Health Center until a few weeks before his death. An avid baseball fan, Fr. Kuhn once related that he wanted to finish his life like a baseball player sliding head first into home plate, just under a tag! He also related he wanted to die a “poor man.” We, his family, think he succeeded in both.

The Kuhn family has always been close, and Fr. Kuhn was a driving force in keeping it that way. He was preceded in death by his parents Sylvester and Elizabeth Kuhn of Osage; by two sisters, Phyllis Drake of Honolulu, HI and Joan Guest of Washington, DC; by two brothers, Robert M. Kuhn of St. Charles, Ill., and Lieutenant Commander James P. Kuhn USN (died while on active duty in the Navy); and by his niece Sr. Marcia Guest, of the Servants of Mary in Omaha, Neb.

He is survived by three sisters, Katherine Peterman of Boise, ID, Betty Jean Lovejoy of Minneapolis, Minn.., and Sister Jeanine Kuhn of the Sisters of the Presentation in Dubuque.  Fr Kuhn also leaves over a dozen first and second cousins, 21 nieces and nephews and 36 grandnieces and grandnephews spread from Maine to Hawaii and south to Mexico.

Funeral services are coordinated by the Reiff Funeral Home of Peosta, and will be conducted Feb. 1-3 in both Peosta and Osage IA. On Thursday February 1st visitation will be at St John the Baptist Catholic Church in Peosta, from 3 to 7 p.m., preceded by a rosary at 2pm and concluding with a Wake service at 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be Friday, Feb. 2, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Peosta will commence at 2 p.m., preceded by a visitation in the church at 1 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Thomas R. Zinkula, Archbishop of Dubuque. A second Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, Feb. 3, at Sacred Heart Church in Osage, at 11 a.m., preceded by a visitation in the church at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at the Sacred Heart cemetery in Osage. In lieu of flowers, donations in the name of Fr. Richard Kuhn to the Seton Catholic School in Peosta, may be sent direct to the school or to St. John the Baptist Church in Peosta.

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