Bernice Gutekunst, 80, passed away Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Kingman. She was a resident of Parker, Ariz., from 1985 to 2008.
The daughter of Stanley and Beatrice Fante, she was born Aug. 12, 1932, in Center Line, Mich. She graduated from Busch High School in Center Line in 1950.
Soon after graduation, she moved with her parents to Orlando, Fla. In 1954, she was the organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Orlando when she met her future husband, Carl H. Gutekunst, who was serving his vicarage (pastor-in-training) as a pastoral student at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
Rev. Gutekunst was ordained in 1956, and he and Bernice were married that same year. The first congregation they served was in Waterloo, Iowa.
The Gutekunsts lived in several locations over the years. Carl was a teacher at Lutheran High School East in Detroit and later served congregations in Iowa. He was an instructor at Concordia College in Ann Arbor, Mich., for a time, and then served congregations in Sugar Grove and Logan, Ohio, and then Peoria, Ariz.
During these years, Bernice was an organist and also worked as a typist and stenographer.
In 1985, Rev. Gutekunst accepted a call to Messiah Lutheran Church in Parker, Ariz. He retired in 1993 and passed away in 1996. Bernice continued to live in Parker for the next 12 years.
During the time she lived in Parker, Bernice worked at Blake Primary School and at Weststates Carbon (now Siemens). She was also the organist at Parker United Methodist Church.
Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Carl, whom she missed for 17 years. She was also preceded by her parents, Stanley and Beatrice Fante; and her brother, James, and his wife, Gladys.
Bernice is survived by her son, Carl, and daughter-in-law Robbin Kawabata of Los Altos, Calif.; her son, John of Parker; her daughter, Elizabeth, and son-in-law Jason Snow of Palm Springs, Calif.; son, Paul, and daughter-in-law Rachel of Kingman; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Parker. Internment will be at Trinity Lutheran (Sponagle) Church in Sugar Grove, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to Bethesda Lutheran Communities, 600 Hoffmann Drive, Watertown, WI 53094.