June Colley Kuklenski
June 24, 1928 - April 12, 2014
June Kuklenski, 85, of Springfield passed away April 12 after a brief illness. She was actively involved in church, education and other community endeavors throughout her life and was passionate about music from childhood. Her life was a reflection of her deep faith and trust in God.
June, who preferred her middle name to her first name, Maudie, was the daughter of Clyde and Edith Colley and baby sister to Dorothy. A Springfield native, she spent part of her childhood in Waynesville, Mo., where her father had a grocery store and later managed the PX at Fort Leonard Wood.
She met her husband-to-be, Dr. Joe Kuklenski, when both were members of the marching band at then-Southwest Missouri State, he on Sousaphone and she on B-flat horn. They had one date in college but reconnected at a regional education meeting when June was teaching in Waynesville and Joe was teaching in Newburg. They married on Aug. 26, 1950.
While Joe advanced through teaching and administrative positions and graduate school in the '50s, they welcomed three children. June made her active family her first priority, but still found time to devote to music through church choirs and, in 1963, as a member of the award-winning Oz-Mo-Belles Sweet Adelines barbershop quartet.
She and Joe saw to it that their children had exposure to music as well. June supported her husband's busy career as he became Springfield's superintendent of schools, and her home was a hub of activity for Bluebirds, Scouts and her children's friends, many of whom she kept in close contact with even as they became parents and grandparents. She also served as choral director for Sweet Adelines Barbershop Chorus, St. Paul United Methodist Church Choirs, and Civic Aires, a community choir.
In 1981 with the birth of their first grandchild, June adopted the nickname Baba, a nod to her husband's Polish roots and a name she knew would be easy for a small child to say. It wasn't long before friends of all ages were using it. She and Joe enjoyed family events and travel in retirement. In her later years she kept busy with her grandchildren's activities, kept a hand in performing in community variety shows during winter months in Southern California and took up playing the organ.
After Joe's passing in 1991, June spent most of her time enjoying her grandchildren who were the light of her life. She also stayed active with her Sigma Kappa Sorority alumni group, P.E.O., and Lioness Club. She was a member of Campbell United Methodist Church where she often volunteered.
June is survived by son, Monte (Valerie) of Los Angeles; daughters, Jill (Joe) Scruggs and Julie (David) Peck all of Springfield; nephews, Joe and Robert Randle; grandchildren, Jennifer Catt (Gavin) Fletchall, Jeffrey Catt, Mary Grace Peck (Tyler) Phillips, Anna Peck (Chad) Walters, Joseph Peck, Jon Catt, Renee Kuklenski, Thomas Kuklenski; and step-grandchildren, Stacey and Jake Scruggs. She is also survived by one great-grandchild, Mason Fletchall.
Visitation will be Wednesday, April 16 from 6-8 p.m. at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home, 1947 E. Seminole. A Celebration of Life service of worship will be held on Thursday, April 17 at 12 p.m. at Campbell United Methodist Church, 1747 E. Republic Road. The family suggests that memorials in her honor be made to either SPS Foundation, Parkview High School Choral Department with June Kuklenski, Parkview Choral Dept. in the memo line, 1131 Boonville, Springfield, MO 65802 or Campbell United Methodist Church, 1747 E. Republic Road, Springfield, MO 65804.
Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home
1947 E. Seminole Springfield, MO 65804
Published in the News-Leader from Apr. 15 to Apr. 17, 2014