Vernell Ruth Kuehn

Memorial services for Vernell Ruth (Luedke) Kuehn, of Caldwell, will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Deanville. She died Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in a Caldwell assisted living facility. 

She was born in Deanville on July 11, 1936, to John (J.B.) and Ella Blinka Luedke. She was the fourth of five children. She attended grade school in Deanville and graduated from Caldwell High School in 1954.

During her early years she worked in the fields along with the men as was the custom in those days. She especially enjoyed being able to outperform any of her brothers at any field task.

She worked for a few years as a nurses’ aide at Giddings Memorial Hospital. She was proud that Mrs. Tate, the administrator of this small hospital, often assigned her duties of an LVN due in part to the reputation of her older sister Ellen. During that time she met Henry J. Kuehn while caring for his older brother. They married on Sept. 7, 1957, and moved to College Station where Henry finished his engineering degree and Vernell attended McKensie Business College for a year, earning a secretarial degree. This led her to a law firm in Houston where she became a legal secretary using her shorthand, bookkeeping, typing skills to research and file cases for several attorneys.

Perhaps the job she enjoyed the most was working for a barge firm for four years. The company had seven boats that moved barges from New Orleans to the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Their primary business was moving kerosene up the river. Vernell’s job was to dispatch and track the locations of the boats and barges and search for products to haul for the return trips to keep from running the vessels empty as much as possible. She especially enjoyed giving the boat captains and crews a hard time. When the company moved to St. Louis, Vernell chose to return to work for a law firm until forced to retire for health reasons.

On Sept. 18, 1963, Carol Ann was born to Henry and Vernell.  Vernell took pride in Carol’s school activities and thoroughly enjoyed her mischievous activities as she grew up.

Vernell enjoyed musical activities – when she was able, she loved dancing and sang in choirs in high school and in church choirs most of her adult life. She also took piano lessons and painting classes as an adult and enjoyed dabbling in various craft projects.

When Vernell was unable to manage her physical care independently, she became a resident in a care facility in Houston for two years beginning in 2011. She then moved to St. Joseph Burleson Manor in Caldwell to be closer to “home” and possible for relatives and friends in the area to visit on occasion.

Vernell was preceded in death by her husband, Henry; her daughter, Carol Kuehn Luhrs; her partner, Joseph Erdos with whom she shared a house after Henry died; her parents, J.B. and Ella Luedke; her oldest brother, Leonard John; her older sister, Ellen Luedke Bailey and brother-in-law Ben Hardy Bailey; six nephews and two nieces.

She is survived by two brothers, Alton (Alice) Luedke and Delmas (Roberta) Luedke; other nieces and nephews, cousins, and many friends.

Memorials may be directed to St. John Lutheran Church in Deanville.