Guestbook for Fredrick Kunze

July 27, 2006
Mr. Kunzie was a great leader and friend to me during my stint at the dorms at Balgat (1964-1968) His door was always open and he was a a true "in loco parentis" to us fellow "Dormies". I thought of Mr. Kunzie very often during the years and will miss him and his friendship and kindness.
Rodney Bell '68' (Kerman, CA )
September 15, 2005
What an inspiration he was to me during my high school years. The many things he taught me will remain to be treasures in my life!
Christine Castrichini (Buccina) Class of 1985
Christine Castrichini(Buccina) (Scottsdale, AZ )
September 10, 2005
Since learning of the passing of my friend I have tried to reconcile my feelings, as well as many other of you from what I have read. What can be said about a truly wonderful human being like Fritz that has not been conveyed by others, I to have deep fond memories of our friend.
I met Fritz as student when I was 15 years old. I worked for him on his beloved “estate” throughout my high school years. He shared his thoughts, experiences, and dreams. I learned from him things that I have carried with me now for 27 years and will for the rest of my life. He was not judgmental; so with my choice to join the military and complete a 20 year career in Special Forces, he was always supportive. I learned from him, shared with him, laughed with him, cried with him…I loved this man.
I had the privilege to hear the stories of many of you and your triumphs and challenges in life. I feel as if I know some of you closely. I read your words of tribute and admiration, see your names, and the stories flood back to my memory.
With Fritz’s age most of his family has passed before him but I submit to all that will view these few words; we are his family, my condolences to you all. The world, our lives are little emptier with the loss of Fritz, but we are all richer in spirit for having known this extraordinary man. He never sought a “spot light” for himself, rather, he always found a way to shine light on his most treasured possession; his friends.
Rest well my friend; you have earned your seat among the gods.
Matt Zagar (Seattle, WA )
September 8, 2005
Fritz Kunze was one of those special teachers that touched our lives in and outside the class room. He had a profound impact on me and I remain forever grateful. As a teacher, he often took his lessons beyond Spanish vocabulary and grammar and offered his perspectives on life and honest values.
After my 1980 BTHS West graudation, he always shared his warmth, humor, and hospitality that were already legendary to so many others when I would make a visit. I relish the memories of sipping his sherry and taking Fritz's personal tour across the marvelous property in which he took such great pride. The cool, measured cadence of Fritz's rich voice still resonates with me and I will treasure his memory for the rest of my days.
Michael Imber (Weston, CT )
September 6, 2005
My deepest sympathies to the Kunze family in their loss.
Jack Moore '57
Jack Moore (The Villages, FL )
September 6, 2005
Mr. Kunze was a teacher when I was
a student at BTHS and then he was
a colleague of mine when I taught
at BTHS under my maiden name of
Jeanine Holle. He was a respected
member of the faculty and loved
by the students.
Jeanine Flaugher (Belleville, IL )
August 28, 2005
Quotation read by Mr. Kunze in the benediction at the Baccalaureate Service in Ankara, June 1, 1966,
from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.
"But now your sleep has fled, and your dream is over, and it is no longer dawn.
The noontide is upon you, and your half-waking has turned to a fuller day, and we must part.
If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more, we shall speak again together, and you shall sing a deeper song.
And if our hands should meet in another drem, we shall build another tower in the sky."
I had the priviledge to speak with Fritz on the phone three days before he passed on. His voice conveyed the same wit, humor,
wisdom and love that so many of us cherished. I was proud that I could tell him the truth that I held back for many years..."I love you Fritz."
"I love you too Brad."
Since age 16 you have been a valuable influence in my life and you will be forever more.
Brad Gebert (Monterey, CA )
August 5, 2005
As I re-read the entries, I am struck by one thing in particular. Each of us had a special contact with Mr. Kunze. Some of us were in "his" Dorms in foreign countries, some of us were students in his classes in the U.S., some of us were his adult neighbors, and some shared travels to strange and distant lands. I guess it really goes to show that you never truly know how far your "touch" can go. He certainly touched people all over the world. Cheers, Mr. Kunze. May you enjoy your final new journey in yet another land, this one the Most Glorious of all. Have a glass of sherry for us!
James Wilkinson (Anchorage, AK )
August 4, 2005
Fritz was my sophomore English teacher (BTHS '61) and student council sponsor.My brother Gary and I were both drawn to him, and he became a family friend. He went on trips with us and spent a lot of time at our house. I have stayed in touch with him through the years, and last saw him for lunch at Estes Park, CO about five years ago. It is hard to say good-bye to a friend of so many years. My prayers for his family and all those he touched.
Bob Mize (Sundown, TX )
August 3, 2005
Hearing via email of the death of "Fritz" flooded my mind with memories of sipping sherry and having great conversations with him about life in Turkey and how we could improve the lives of the "dormies". I hadn't been in touch with Fritz since we parted ways in 1965, but heaaring of his passing quickly brought back the image of how genuine and warm Fritz was toward everyone.
There are few people I remember from so many years ago, but Fritz always stayed in my memory, and his passing saddens me as if we had just sipped sherry together a few days ago.
Goodbye, Fritz, an old friend from 40 years ago misses you.
Larry Shaw (La Mesa, CA, CA )
August 3, 2005
My sympathy to the Kunze family. I
was a dorm student in Ankara, Turkey class of 1967 when Mr. Kunze was there. He was very kind to a frightened young girl who had never been away from home before. He made me feel welcome and for that I am eternally grateful. He was a wonderful man and will be missed.
August 3, 2005
I was sad to learn of Mr. Kunze's passing. I had tremendous respect for him and still cannot call him by his first name. Even though he was largely responsible for making me spend many, many weekends in the dorms and I was probably largely responsible for giving him many uneasy nights, I can say, like Todd, that Mr. Kunze has a profound impact on my life. He will be missed in this life and I rest easier knowing that he has been reunited with others that have passed on.
Jim Wilkinson (Anchorage, AK )
August 3, 2005
Fritz and I were such close friends over so many years and had so many adventures that the beginning of our friendship is lost to my memory. My returns to Belleville from college and later as an adult from wherever the military had me always included a night with Fritz: sherry and music and discussion into the small hours. Travels in foreign countries--perhaps he was most fond of remembering our crossing of the Bodmin Moor in perfectly appropriate weather: grey, misty, wet, filled with portent. But my favorite recollection is of our entirely coincidental meeting on the coast of North Africa. Neither of us had any inkling that the other was on the continent, let alone in the same nation, in the same town, on the same bus. We were last with Fritz in May of 2004 for an hour's conversation on the lawn of his farm, which he so dearly loved.
Cheers, Fritz.
Lee Badgett (Lexington, VA )
August 2, 2005
Fritz, I will miss you. Like so many others, my life is different in a very good way because I knew you. You are still special to everyone in our family.
It was wonderful growing up in Ankara with you nuturing us along the way.
Todd Stewart (Sedalia, CO )
August 2, 2005
Fritz will be missed as our WONDERFUL neighbor.
We will miss the lighted Christmas tree that stayed up every year until Easter!
We are one of the fortunate friends that received his WONDERFUL book, that will be cherished forever!
Our deepest sympathy to the Kunze family.
What a great loss to many that were priveliged enough to know him.
Leroy & Judy Hamann (Belleville, IL )
August 2, 2005
"Think where man's glory most begins and ends. And say that my glory is that I had such friends."
What a glorious friend Fritz was.
Condolences to Fritz's family.
Sue Widman Badgett (Colordo Springs, CO )
August 2, 2005
I was very sad to learn of Fritz's passing. In reading some of the entries contained in this guest book, I note many refer to him as "mentor." I am one of those many. Fritz had a unique way of soul searching without appearing to pry. He made you really think about the world and how to best function in it.
I had the great fortune of having Fritz as a spanish teacher at Belleville West. He was the most inspiring teacher I haver ever had. I remember the senior day he had at his house. He put us all in a room and asked us life questions. It was a very meaningful experience.
I also had the great fortune of mountain climbing with Fritz one summer in Colorado. It was a fantastic experience for a midwestener to see, hike and climb in the Rockies.
I've heard mention of the annual Sherry Parties. I was lucky enough to receive an invite every year since my graduation. The party was a great place to catch up with old friends. Fritz always took the time to have a personal conversation with everyone. That's what made the party special and that is why he was special.
Thank you Fritz for being my mentor, my teacher and most importantly my friend. I will truly miss our talks and your wisdom. You help put me on the path to success and I will always be grateful to you.
May the Lord keep you in his Hand
and never close His fist too tight.
jeff watson (belleville, IL )
August 2, 2005
Fritz was a mentor, a colleague, and a friend beyond compare, and the many who knew Fritz know that they were enriched in numerous and immeasurable ways. I first met Fritz as a member of Westminsters, where he gently gave direction to and supported our youthful aspirations and characters. What fun Fritz devised for the “Monsters” – Christmas Pageants, Spaghetti Suppers, French Waterfront Parties, Haunted Houses, and autumn Saturday mornings when we would hunt for bittersweet. But he also opened the spiritual life to us, leading us to ask questions and seek answers. His unconditional support meant all the difference for many of us. As a teaching colleague, Fritz’s good humor, strong values, and perspective were unparalleled, and he was the best example any young teacher could want. Fritz embodied the idea, “Virtue is its own reward, and brings with it the truest and highest pleasure,” for his many acts of kindness and generosity were themselves what gave Fritz pleasure. My condolences to the family of this remarkable good and gentle man.
Catherine Groom Petroski (Durham NC / Arrowsic ME)
August 1, 2005
What great times we all had at Westminsters. Fritz always kept things moving and everyone interacting...with spiritual teachings as the center. We are so fortunate to have known him and been able to interact with him. I'm very sorry to hear of his death. Please accept my condolances. Ruth Dechant-Gale:BTHS 1957
Ruth Dechant-Gale (Montgomery, TX )
August 1, 2005
You will see the word "mentor" and the phrase "sense of self-worth" often in Fritz's guestbook. I first met Fritz at 18, and was treated as an adult for the first time. I wasn't yet, but I began trying to be worthy of his trust. And when I would fail, he would treat me as an adult who had made a mistake. And I would try harder.
The last time we communicated directly, about 5 years ago, he was still making me feel good about myself. He always will.
Bob Allen (Scottsdale, AZ )
August 1, 2005
My deepest sympathies to the Kunze family in their loss. I remember Mr. Kunze very well as I visited the dorms a lot when I was a student at Ankara High School in Ankara, Turkey from 1963-67. Fritz will be missed by many.
Shiela Weaver (Santa Ana, CA )
August 1, 2005
It is alwasy sad to loose a member of the George C. Marshall American High School, Ankara, Turkey family. We will miss you. Thanks for all you did for us.
Gordon Welch (Ankara, Turkey/Carbondale, IL )
August 1, 2005
Fritz was a very special person in my life, as he was to so many high school students who had the privilege of belonging to Westminsters during the 1950s. He was so good to us and gave us such a sense of self-worth. He guided us through difficult moments and kept us based in reality with his warm sense of humor. Who can ever forget the moving ceremonies on the sandbar at those end of summer picnics? He was a very dear human being.
Wilma Paule Weisenstein (Belleville, IL )
August 1, 2005
I am sorry to hear that my old friend and mentor has passed away. He was a very special person to many of us who knew him as a dorm counselor or teacher.
I was just going to call him and ask him when his sherry parties were going to be this year so I could send him a 1/2 dozen bottles of his favorite Spanish sherry as usual. His sherry parties were his favorite events of the year. He held two, the first for his oldest students were are all in their 40’s and 50 and then the younger students in their 20’ and 30’s. He would spend weeks polishing the brass in the sherry room to give the ambiance of a Spanish tasting room.
Many of his former students will miss these yearly ceremonies as they were special to all who were lucky enough to attend. I understand this because every Sunday Fritz would hold a smoker in him office in the dorm for the Seniors. It was a special time to discuss works like Catcher in the Rye and Huckleberry Fin, and other works that mad us young men think about our surroundings and futures.
He made us aware of what college fraternities were about and what to expect from a good fraternity. The camaraderie among young men who had similar goals and achievements in life as well as how important it was to find a mentor in the alumni of the Fraternity. Those Sunday evenings were very special to all of us who stood in his room and hallway listening carefully to the guidance he gave us and the opportunity to ask serious questions and receive well thought out answers. Living overseas with little contact with high school life in the states and what college would be like. These Sunday smokers and other dorm meetings encourage us to go on to college and further education.
It saddens me that he passed away as I was hoping to have a few more years with him and bring more dormies back into contact with him. He always looked forward to meeting and catching up with former dormies and students living in town. We would speak of townies from time to time and he had fond memories of many of them.
He affected so many students lives where ever he was teaching or running a dorm. I believe that we all came to appreciate the man and what he stood for in teaching and mentoring to young people. He was a special man to me as I encountered very few educators who had the personality to work with young people the way Fritz did.
May the winds of time carry his soul to the lands he loved and their rich history he enjoyed so much.
Joel Watson
Dormie from 1965 to 1967, A well established fixture on weekends at the boys dorm.
Joel Watson (Las Vegas, NV )
August 1, 2005
Fritz was a well loved dorm counselor in Ankara, Turkey during the mid60s. Even if we didn't live in the dorms, we have fond memories of him.
My sincere condolences go to his family.
(Ankara, Turkey 1959-1965)
Anita Donohoe (Lompoc, CA )

Published in the Belleville News-Democrat from 8/1/2005 - 7/31/2006.