Frank grew up in Mount Vernon in southern Illinois with three sisters and two brothers. Son of Elmer Kuenz and Hildegarde Nies of St. Louis. After local high school, he attended Washington University, St. Louis school of architecture. With the help of a scholarship he graduated with a professional degree in 1954. During the Korean War he served in the army 1954 to 1956. He was sent to south western Germany outside Stuttgart. As a SP3 he was assigned to headquarters 540 engineer group combat operations section with top-secret clearances.
He then went back to the United States, and completed the required three years of architectural apprenticeship. After which he returned to Europe, sailing on the SS United Stater and entered the University of Paris studying the Cordae civilization français de la Sorbonne and later travel throughout Western Europe. Returning to the United States, he received a license to practice architecture in Illinois and Missouri. Frank moved to New York City and lived and worked in Manhattan in the early 1960s. He worked in a variety of construction projects in the city and its surrounds. Feeling the crowdedness of Manhattan, Frank returned to the Midwest. With a stipend from the University of Illinois, he taught first year architectural students, and received a masters degree in architecture. After that, he practiced independently in Illinois on an assortment of commissions, schools, churches, residences, etc..
In 1968, Frank married Mary Helen Barnidge of St. Louis. Deciding to make a change they moved to Denver Colorado and purchased a home on 7th Avenue Parkway. He had lived there for over 50 years till his passing. Sons Daniel and Theodore were born and he received a license to practice in Colorado. During this time he was back-and-forth to finish up his work in Illinois. His first commission in Denver was with the Sudler and associates, and the international Italian Crio Ponti’s first new art museum in Denver, now called the Martin building. Most of the exterior had been completed, and Frank worked on finishing the interior. He later worked with other architects. In a time of slow new construction, he made some investments in real estate that produced income for many years.
In 1998 he began a final project, designing a second family home on 10 acres he purchased in Conifer, Colorado. A passive solar house, resting at a ridge overlooking Mount Evans, he named Tower Ridge, because of the central tower that was the focal point of the design.
In 2002, Mary Helen died. For over 17 years, until the coronavirus pandemic stifled travel, he enjoyed month-long journeys to the places he was familiar in Europe including Paris and Germany often passing through New York City. He also traveled to a variety of new and interesting places such as Russia (traveling on a boat from Saint Petersburg to Moscow), India (where he traveled from the north to the very different south), and many others which he documented through countless photos.
He is survived by his two sons and seven grandchildren.
- Daniel and wife Elizabeth, Amanda and husband Aaron, Jason, Nicolas, Samantha, Gavin, and one great grandchild Emberlee.
- Ted and wife Brianne Jaxson, and Jazmyn.
He is also survived by, his siblings Ruth, Dwyn, David, and his brother Thad.
He is preceded in death by his sister Jean and one grandchild Johnathan.
He wanted to say that he lived an adventurous, full, good enough, and long life.
Additional Service to be held at Saint Mary’s church in Mount Vernon, Illinois:
His cremated remains to be buried alongside his parents in Mount Vernon, Illinois.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the "Frank Kuenz Architecture Scholarship"