Raymond Frederick Kuethe, son of Carl and Emma (Niemann) Kuethe, was born August 30, 1913, in Waverly, Iowa. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Waverly. Raymond graduated from the Waverly High School.
On November 28, 1935, he was united in marriage to Margaret Matthias at the St. Mary Parsonage in Waverly. Raymond farmed all of his life and owned and operated Kuethe Turkey Farms. He especially enjoyed combining corn and mowing the grass on the farm. He was a past board member for REC, Fredericka Fire, Sumner Hospital and Iowa Turkey Federation. Raymond currently served on the board for the American Savings Bank in Tripoli. He enjoyed playing cards, fishing, watching sports on TV and traveling.
Raymond Kuethe was a prominent, innovative Bremer County farmer. Beginning his labors during the depression, he rented farms near Bremer, Shell Rock, and Buck Creek, before moving his family onto a 150-acre farm that he purchased in 1943 on Pinhook Road midway between Sumner, Fredericksburg and Tripoli. He cleared its timber, dynamiting the stumps, and he tiled its sloughs, digging the trenches by hand. Going into turkeys in the mid 1950s, he was among the first to embrace the idea of specialization. He remained a turkey farmer until his retirement many years later.
He took a hand in community leadership and modernization. He led a group of local farmers who manually dug the post holes for the light lines to bring electricity to Pinhook Road, and was leader in securing telephone service for Leroy Township. He served on numerous boards, including those of the REA, the American Savings Bank of Tripoli, the Sumner Community Hospital, and St. John’s Lutheran Church, and he helped establish the Frederika Fire Department. When St. Bridget’s Mission at Pinhook was still active, he regularly ploughed the snow from the ditches to facilitate parking for Sunday Mass.
When his sons Ronald and Michael began to assume more and more responsibility for the turkey business, Ray and his wife, Margaret, became world travelers, at first venturing out to visit son Allan and family in Colombia and, later, in Spain. Frequent excursions to Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific followed. Closer to home, he loved taking fishing trips with neighbors to northern Minnesota and southern Canada.
Raymond’s death occurred Saturday evening, March 31, 2012 at Community Memorial Hospital in Sumner, Iowa. He was 98 years old. He was a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Sumner where he was a past church board member.
He is survived by his wife of 76 ½ years, Margaret Kuethe of Sumner, Iowa; six children, Ron (Terri) Kuethe of Sumner, Iowa, Allan (Lourdes) Kuethe of Lubbock, Texas, Kathy Baruth of Stewartville, Minnesota, Jan (Steve) Mullenix of Parker, Colorado, Mike (Lynn) Kuethe of Fredericksburg, Iowa and Deb (Charlie) Weber of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; 24 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and one sister, LaVera Schneider of Waverly, Iowa.
Raymond was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters, Lenora Lynes, Luella Collins, Ruth Podlewski and Esther Arns; and a son-in-law, Carroll Baruth.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at St. John Lutheran Church in Sumner with Rev. William Runaas, Jr. and Rev. Jim Brokman officiating. Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery (Pinhook), rural Sumner. Friends may call from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, 2012, at Becker-Milnes Funeral Home in Sumner and for one hour preceding services at the church on Wednesday. Memorial donations may be made in his name to St. John Lutheran Church or Community Memorial Hospital both in Sumner.