Kathryn O’Connor Kuhn, UCC Pastor Known for Health and Human Service Ministry, Dies at 50

Rev. Kathryn Kuhn
Kathryn O’Connor Kuhn

Former CHHSM Board member and Nollau Leadership Institute (2015-2016) graduate Kathryn O’Connor Kuhn, 50, of Kiel, Wis., died Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at home, surrounded in love by her immediately family.

Known for her local church ministry and health and human service ministries work, Kuhn pastored local Wisconsin churches for many years, including Our Saviour’s UCC (Germantown), Bethlehem UCC (Kiel), Saron UCC (Sheboygan Falls) and, most recently, First Congregational UCC (Appleton), where she was pastor for congregational care and mission.

“Kathryn Kuhn was a dear friend, a champion for justice, a passionate servant leader, a pastor, a wife, mother, daughter and friend,” said Michael J. Readinger, president and CEO of CHHSM. “Her ministry will be missed but never forgotten.”

Kuhn was born Nov. 8, 1969, to the Rev. Gerald and Barbara (Hofmeister) O’Connor. She received her bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (1991), an M.Div. degree from UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo. (1995), and was ordained into Christian ministry in the United Church of Christ in 1997. She began her ministry by supporting men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS through the St. Camillus AIDS Ministry (Wauwatosa, Wis.) in the mid-1990s.

Her ministry also reflected a close connection to the UCC’s health and human service ministries, including at Cedar Community in West Bend, Wis., where she served first as a hospice chaplain and later as director of ministries.

“The world, the UCC and so many of us have lost a treasure with Kathryn’s passing,” Readinger added. “What we will never forget is her wisdom, smile and grace.”

The Rev. Karl and the Rev. Kathryn Kuhn were married May 28, 1994, in the Eden Seminary Chapel. Their children, Joshua (Gianna Pornasdoro) Kuhn and Clare Kuhn, were the joy of Kathryn’s heart. Their happiness was her happiness. Kuhn’s best days were spent with family and friends, appreciating good food, red wine, laughter, and much gratitude for the simpler things in life.

In addition to her husband, children and father, those who grieve include brother David (Lisa) O’Connor, father-in-law Allen Kuhn, sisters-in-law Liz (Tom) Wank and Louise (Dan) Hubert, three nieces and six nephews, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her mother and mother-in-law.

A memorial service be held at a later time, when at last it will be safe for folks to gather to celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers or plants, the family requests memorials be given to the Sheboygan County Cancer Care Fund, First Congregational UCC (Appleton)’s Kenya Partnership, or Eden Theological Seminary.

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