Pete Kuehnel passed away peacefully on December 2nd at age 88. He was born on November 5th, 1925 in Bellingham to Alfred and Bertha Kuehnel. He was preceded in death by Irene, his wife of 57 years. Pete is survived by his daughters Teresa Hiebert and Laurie Kuehnel, and son Patrick Kuehnel and his wife Kimberly. Pete has five grandchildren whom he loved very much; John, Luke, Molly, Alex and Ryan. Pete is also survived by his brother, Delbert Kuehnel and his wife Elberta, cousins Willy and Doris Hayes, and David Harris, niece and nephew Kelly and Frank Procell, and sister-in-law Margaret Desmond, and many other loving relatives and friends. Pete was a lifetime resident of Whatcom County. He graduated from Bellingham High School in 1946 after three years of service in the American Merchant Marines during WWII. Pete had many jobs throughout his life; cook, shoe sales manager, Fuller Brush Man, Uniflight boat maker, gill-netter, jailer, Deputy Sheriff, and in retirement, as a bailiff. The career that he loved and retired from after 27 years of service was as a Detective and Arson Investigator for the Whatcom County Sheriff's Department. Pete put in many hours of training to move from jailer to deputy to detective. He enjoyed training in Arson Investigation and with the FBI Academy. Pete was also a volunteer fireman and EMT for thirty years with the Marietta Fire Department. He never missed a fire alarm in the middle of the night or training on a Monday evening. Pete's first car was a Studebaker and thus began a lifelong love for the brand. He restored several Studebakers and displayed them in car shows, going on road trips with Irene, and receiving many ribbons and trophies. Pete was a member of the Whatcom County Studebakers Driver's Club, the American Legion, and the American Merchant Marine Veterans - San Juan Chapter. He was extremely involved with local hockey as a player, youth coach and goal judge. He had a great love for his family, his pets, career, travel, and his cars. Many thanks go to the Bellingham Fire Department and EMT's, the doctors, caregivers, and nurses at St. Joseph Hospital and especially the staff at the Cottage at Highgate Senior Living. Our family truly appreciates that you always took such good care of Pete. The funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Monday, December 9th at Westford Funeral Home, 1301 Broadway in Bellingham. A reception will follow. Committal will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery. Memorials in Pete's name may be made to the Whatcom County Humane Society, the American Legion, or the American Merchant Marines. Thank you, dad, for your loyalty to your family and friends, for your service to your country and community, and for the many times you helped us with our home remodeling and fixing our cars! You will be greatly missed by us all and never forgotten. You may share memories of Pete at www.westfordfuneralhome.com.
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Published in Bellingham Herald from Dec. 5, 2013 to Jan. 4, 2014
Westford Funeral Home & Cremation
1301 Broadway Bellingham, WA 98225