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Agriculture Today

Video highlights family legacy

Video highlights family legacy
Joseph Henry “Joe” Kunze appears on the cover of the March 1956 Texas Future Farmer magazine.

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Wilson County News
February 22, 2011
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Joe Kunze starts family livestock tradition

As many exhibitors of all ages promote the ag industry by exhibiting their animals in various shows, one family has given ag exhibiting a new twist -- highlighting the accomplishments of a La Vernia man, Joseph Henry “Joe” Kunze Sr. -- on video. Due to myelodysplastic syndrome -- also known as pre-leukemia -- he was unable to attend the San Antonio Livestock Show to view the video.

Produced by his family, the video had been shown randomly in the San Antonio Livestock Exposition (SALE)’s Hall of Fame barn, at the family’s request. On Feb. 5, friends and family gathered to view the video that details the accomplishments of Kunze, who has lived in La Vernia since 1982.

No stranger to the SALE ring, Kunze walked away with several champion honors in the swine division during his high school years, while attending Luther Burbank Vocational High School in San Antonio. He studied ag for four years, with David Rusmisel serving as the ag teacher.

Kunze had a long list of winnings, spanning the breeding and market divisions, all while showcasing the Duroc breed. A member of the Future Farmers of America Burbank Chapter, he also placed well in the state fair in 1956. (For listing of his honors, see box).

For his efforts, the Burbank Chapter Future Farmers of Texas member graced the cover of the March 1956 Texas Future Farmer.

He was the 1957 model for the SALE Catalog-Boys Dorm. This image also graced the cover of the Jan. 31, 1959, Burbank Student Farm registered Duroc sale brochure.

Kunze’s expertise was not limited to swine; he also walked away with the champion Brahman titles in 1954-56.

Kunze is the son of the late Alfred and Josephine Kunze. The Kunze family lived on a 25-acre farm in Bergs Mill, located on the south side of San Antonio near Mission Espada.

His love of livestock exhibition continued as he raised his three children -- Nancy (Kunze) Turner, Jonett (Kunze) Story, and Joseph “Jody” Kunze Jr., who grew up participating in livestock shows.

In 1977, Nancy part-icipated in the SALE’s calf scramble -- the first year girls were allowed to participate. She was awarded a certificate to purchase a calf for the 1978 show. That year, Nancy’s Brahman cross steer earned reserve grand champion honors.

Nancy also followed in her father’s footsteps as she placed in swine competition -- breeding and market divisions.

Jonett also continued the Kunze tradition in swine competition. Like her sister, she placed with breeding gilts and market barrows. In 1981, her Duroc barrow earned the grand champion Duroc honors in the San Antonio show. Jonett went on to win second in showmanship.

Jody did not pursue the major shows, instead following the Kunze exhibition tradition in local shows. In 1986, Jody proudly exhibited the grand champion barrow in the La Vernia Junior Livestock Show.

Myelodysplastic syndrome

MDS, or myelodysplastic syndrome, is a collection of disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells.

Normally, the bone marrow produces three major types of blood -- red, white, and platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the blood. White blood cells help the body fight infections. Platelets help blood clot.

MDS is not considered a cancer. However, some forms of MDS can progress to acute myeloid leukemia, a type of cancer.

Approximately 7,000 to 12,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States. It primarily occurs in people older than 60. Source: website


Joe Kunze achieved numerous honors in the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, including:

•1954 Grand Champion Cross-bred Steer

•1955 Champion of Breed, Brahman Cross Steer

•1955, 1956 Grand Champion Duroc Barrow

•1955, 1956 Grand Champion Barrow of Show

•1956 Grand Champion Barrow of Boys Show

•1956 Grand Champion Pen of Three (swine)

•1956 Grand Champion Brahman Steer

•1956 Reserve Grand Champion Brahman Steer

He also earned the following in the 1956 State Fair Show:

•Champion of Breed (Duroc)

•Breed, Reserve Champion

•First-Place Lightweight Barrow

•First-Place Middleweight Barrow

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