Longtime retired Jefferson principal dies

Kenneth Kunshier, a retired longtime principal of Blaine’s Jefferson Elementary School, died May 21. He was 76 years old.

Kunshier started in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in 1959 and was principal of Jefferson for 29 years, starting in 1967. He retired in 1996.

Merrilee Kinney, a retired first-grade teacher at Jefferson, worked with Kunshier for 27 of those years and said he was the pillar of the school and a man who loved to tell jokes.

“He had a wonderful sense of humor,” Kinney said. “I saw him a few weeks ago, and he was making me laugh. I get a smile on my face every time I think of him.”

Kunshier was beloved by staff, too, according to Kinney.

“The thing staff liked the most was how much he trusted his teachers,” Kinney said. “He allowed us to pursue our own way of teaching.”

She also described him as generous and a man who was devoted to his wife and daughters.

“He was like a big brother to me,” Kinney said.

Kunshier’s funeral service took place May 30. Interment was private at Fort Snelling Cemetery.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara; and daughter, Debra Kreun-Kunshier.

He is survived by his daughter, Lynda (Kirk) Brahs; grandchildren, Lauren (Nicholas) Brahs; Brittany Kreun (fiance, Dustin Stolp); great-grandsons, Dustin Jr. and Jordan Sullivan; and other family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

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