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By Chris Preuss

By now you have heard the news that our dear brother, Gene Kuntz, has passed into glory after a battle with cancer. His vivacious personality, seeing him flying around on that scooter, and his love for Maranatha will all be missed, leaving a huge void in our community. Gene loved Maranatha with all his heart, and he served here in various capacities for most of his life.

Personally, even though I’m a newbie around here, I had several wonderful encounters with Gene. The first that comes to mind is when I could hear his voice from behind a huge stack of photo albums as he came teetering into my office right after I started in the Executive Director role in June of 2022. He joyfully set down the stack and explained he has kept a photo history of life at Maranatha since he was a teenager. “I’ll let you hold onto these and look through them and you can return them when you’re done…” He then decided it was best to show them himself and we spent the better part of a couple hours that afternoon as he joyfully narrated all the history he had accumulated. Then there is the time he insisted that I hire him for at least one miscellaneous job so that he could keep his streak of having worked for every Executive Director since Dr. Savage. He kept his streak alive. And he was always at the ready with a piece of advice or a big idea to make things better at M. Little did he likely figure that his presence and kindness to our community was one of the best things we had going.

Gene also was a wonderful giver of his time and his treasure to Maranatha. Most recently he provided the spotlights for the stage area where the kids sing, “those kids on the ends disappear into the dark up there…you have to fix that!” And the flagpole in front of the Tabernacle was his gift, tying together his love of country and of Maranatha. Gene was also always around to volunteer and has been a fixture at the Joni and Friends camps since they started here. He also attended almost every teaching session we had and was quick with a joke or an encouragement to those who were speaking.

We will miss you, Gene, but we rejoice in knowing that you are home in the presence of the King, completed, healed, and rejoicing with the saints who have gone before us. This gives us great comfort as we look forward to that glorious day when we are all reunited in the great resurrection!