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Derrell Kunkel

Derrell Kunkel

November 13, 1936 - September 23, 2020
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Obituary

Derrell Kunkel went to see Jesus on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 after a long battle with cancer. He left this earth peacefully while at home in Amarillo. Memorial services will be held at Saint Stephen United Methodist Church at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, September 25, 2020 with Travis Bennett, Senior Pastor and Dr. Jim Smith, Associate Pastor officiating. Private burial will be in Dreamland Cemetery.

Derrell was born in St. Louis, Oklahoma on November 13, 1936 to Charles Ray and Helen Gray Kunkel. His childhood was spent in St. Louis and Wolf, with the family moving to Fox, Oklahoma the summer before his 8th grade year. He graduated from Fox High School in 1955 and was active in football, basketball, and track. He also participated in drama and choir where he enjoyed playing piano for classmates and friends. He placed second in state competition for Solo Baritone. In football, he played right end on an undefeated team in 1954, receiving an All-District award and Honorable Mention for All-State. He also played on three champion basketball teams with honors – Outstanding Player each year – and held the district scoring record for several years.

After high school, he played football at East Central University at Ada, Oklahoma until an injury ended his college football. He also lettered in track prior to the injury. He graduated from Southeastern State University at Durant, Oklahoma with a BA and Master’s in Education.

His first coaching/teaching position was at Zaneis, Oklahoma where he spent two years coaching basketball and teaching History. While there, his teams won more games than had ever been won.

He was then hired as head basketball coach at Plainview Schools of Ardmore, Oklahoma, where he was named Coach of the Year in 1962 and 1963. He was also head baseball coach, reviving a 15-year absence of the program and winning District, Bi-District and Regional their first year under his coaching.
He then went to Madill, Oklahoma where he was Counselor, Athletic Director, head basketball coach, and football coordinator for two years.

Following that, Derrell took a job as Senior Counselor of Plainview High School in Plainview, Texas where he stayed for one year before moving back to Oklahoma where he was hired as Counselor at Wagoner High School for one year. He then returned to Plainview, Texas as Assistant Principal at Plainview High School for three years before being named Principal at Coronado Jr. High in Plainview. He retired after twenty years at Coronado Jr. High. While in Plainview, he married Sara Jo Hickman Houlette in 1976. In Plainview, he was an active member of First United Methodist Church, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Optimist Club, Red Rage Booster Club and was involved in all sports activities.

After his retirement in 1992, he and Sara Jo moved to Amarillo to be closer to family. They joined St. Stephen United Methodist Church where they were members of Wesley Workers Sunday School Class and were active in the Golden Spread Emmaus Community.

Derrell was preceded in death by his parents and an infant son, Derrell Ray Kunkel, Jr.

Survivors include his wife, Sara Jo Kunkel of the home; daughter, Kelly St. John and Andy of Lubbock; sons, Greg Houlette and Sarah of Amarillo, Gary Houlette and Lisa of Canyon, Scot Houlette of Amarillo, and Bryan Houlette and Jon Worthington of Rehoboth Beach, DE; grandchildren, Lauren and Andres Betancur of Stephenville, Katie and Rob Reagan of Amarillo, Colton and Kayce Houlette of Amarillo; Kesli Houlette of Dallas, Kenzi Houlette of Houston, Parker Houlette of Amarillo, Tess Houlette of Houston, Drew St. John and Bella St. John of Lubbock; great grandchildren, Elias and Samuel Betancur, and Davis and Jane Reagan; brother, Charles Kunkel and Vernie of Kilgore; sister, Patty Bradford and John of Knoxville, AR; and numerous nieces and nephews.
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Service Details

  • Service

    September 25, 2020 | 11:00am
    When
    September 25, 2020 11:00am
    Location
    St. Stephen United Methodist Church
    Address
    4600 S. Western St.
    AMARILLO, TX 79109
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Private burial will be in Dreamland Cemetery.

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Tanya Bradford Bane and husband Bill Bane, Tammy Halencak, and other have sent flowers to the family of Derrell Kunkel.
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LA

Labeth Nall, Senior Admin Asst

Posted at 09:24am
Mr. Kunkel, "Coach," was a giant of a man to all of us who were fortunate enough to know him during our high school years at Plainview (Oklahoma). He was an encourager, a kind man who noticed and talked with the students who were overlooked. He had the kind of heart to serve and make the world a better place. Even in our immature, teenage minds, we "got it" that he was a role model we would be wise to follow. We are all better people for having known him.

I pray Sara and his family will be comforted as they miss him so much in the months to come. I know in my heart that he'll always be near to them. God bless you.
TB

Tanya Bradford Bane and husband Bill Bane

Posted at 10:31am
With all our love to the family...
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Tanya Bradford Bane and husband Bill Bane purchased the Tender Tribute for the family of Derrell Kunkel. Send Flowers

TH

Tammy Halencak

Posted at 06:25am
We are so sorry for your loss. Love the Halencaks
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Tammy Halencak purchased the Peaceful White Lilies Basket for the family of Derrell Kunkel. Send Flowers

HS

Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 10:57pm
Thinking of you and your precious family, Kelly. You are loved much. Big hugs and prayers for you all. Melinda, Craig, Emi & Holt
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Flowers were purchased for the family of Derrell Kunkel. Send Flowers

K

kenlmitchell@gmail.com

Posted at 07:14pm
Condolences to Coach Kunkel's family. He was a great coach...and an even greater man. He will be missed by many.
Ken Mitchell (Plainview High School Class of 1965, Ardmore, OK)
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