Reverend Dr. Roger M. Kunkel
November 24, 1934 – June 29, 2011
Rev. Dr. Roger Kunkel was a native of Parsons, Kansas, graduated from Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, where he received an award for “Outstanding Student and Citizen”. After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, and went on to serve as Senior Pastor in Duluth, Minnesota, and Riverside, Illinois. He served as Chaplain of Heritage Park Rehab Center in Bradenton, Florida, after retiring from his pastorate at First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota in 1998.
In his first pastorate, Roger was named “Outstanding Man of the Year” by the Duluth Jaycees. In his Chicago pastorate he was named “Man of the Year” by the Riverside Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as the Chaplain of the Sarasota Saint Andrew Society.
During his pastorate in Sarasota, Florida, Roger initiated the Stephen Ministry, the Dial Hope Ministry, and an annual Festival of Faith. On September 9th of 2007, the 7th anniversary of the Dial Hope Ministry was celebrated with a “Festival of Hope”. June 28, 2010 marked 51 years in ministry for Roger.
Roger and his wife Char together raised five children, and have seven grandchildren. Roger enjoyed people, cars, creative writing, leading retreats, sports, and creating havoc in the kitchen. A sermon by Roger once entitled, “How to be Outrageously Happy!”
As founder of the Dial Hope ministry Roger always chose the less traveled path, always explored new ways to reach out to those in need and new ways to encourage people to trust in God. He introduced Jesus to us as a friend and a guide and a healer. Though Roger has “graduated,” as he often referred to death, his Dial Hope ministry will remain vibrant and strong. We have many TA-DAH! moments before us, and with your continued help and support we will continue to build on the solid foundation Roger created.
One of Roger’s favorite poems by Robert Frost concludes with the lines:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the road less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.