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VIDEO | Rebroadcast of Allan C. Kieckhafer funeral at Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church

West Bend, Wi – Pastor Clarissa Martinelli from Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church led the Celebration of Life service for fellow U.S. Navy veteran Allan C. Kieckhafer on Monday, January 30, 2023.  Below is a rebroadcast of that funeral.

PRAYER: “Thessalonians 4:13 reads, ‘Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.’ Lord, we thank you for enabling us to gather here today so that we can celebrate a life well-lived. We ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit to shower down upon each person here. May She bring comfort and strength to every one of us so that we learn to love others unconditionally like Mr. Allan Cooley Kieckhafer did. May the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight; for you are our Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.

Mr. Allan C. Kieckhafer, Dad, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Uncle, Comrade, Friend, died on January 25 at 99 years old. He lived his entire life in West Bend and was a lifelong member of Fifth Ave. United Methodist Church. I am honored not only as Mr. Allan’s Pastor but especially as his Shipmate to share the Good News of the Gospel at this Celebration of Life Service.

God sends everyone into the world with a gift to offer to the rest of humanity. Though the call God placed in Mr. Allan’s life was not to preaching, not with words, anyway, God placed within him a gift which was to be a blessing to others; a gift of being there for people.


After being in West Bend for a while, I began to see the city as Mr. Allan’s Favorite Spot.” And indeed, it was, and is, the Kieckhefer’s favorite spot. The significance of West Bend was great for him, and for all many of you. This favorite spot kept the family grounded, and it called them to return here regularly to visit, to connect, to celebrate West Bend, a beloved community.

Click HERE to watch a rebroadcast of the

2018 Memorial Day Ceremony hosted by Allan Kieckhafer

From the moment of his birth, Mr. Allan was faithful to this place. He belonged to it. And though he may not have talked about it in quite this way, that faithfulness to this place and its people is one way to understand the theological significance of his life. In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, written from jail, Paul strings together two thoughts that seem somewhat unrelated, but that I think form a terrific understanding of the life of Mr. Allan; “Let your gentleness be evident to all,” Paul says. He follows that by saying, “The Lord is near.”

The Lord is nearby. This forms the basic Christian conviction behind the doctrine of the Incarnation. Jesus, by the improvisation of God and Mary, is God come near. And when God comes, God comes among ordinary, working folks. The folks who build beloved community together that becomes an outpost of kindness and hospitality. God shows up in this particular favorite spot. And for those who follow in the way of Jesus, one path towards holiness is to keep showing up in our particular favorite spot and to learn to belong to the land and the people there.


This is most certainly what Mr. Allan Kieckhafer did; he was obedient to his long vocation of tending what was given because he knew the details of his favorite spot, West Bend. He knew the people that make up this place, and he was faithful to them. He had stories for all occasions and was more than happy to tell them. First, he had some little anecdote about a bit of mischief or some silliness. And then, he turned a little serious and said, “but let me tell you now,” and then he went on to cut wisely into the goodness of the place and people he was talking about. He saw the world in that way – a glint of mischief in his eye, and a big, open heart for all the goodness of his beloved community.

For 99 years he faithfully attended his church, in-person or through our postal ministry; serving in every way possible along the way; extending the hospitality of God that he and this congregation have stood for over 174 years.


“Let your gentleness be evident to all,” Paul says. Grounded in his favorite place, among his people, Mr. Allan was a gentle man. He wisdom reminded us that we have a duty to pay attention to those on the margins, the ones who might be forgotten. These are the ones we’re to go to and serve and love.


Across this West Bend community, people knew this about him. For the majority of his life, Mr. Allan performed community service and volunteered in a multitude of organizations. He won the affection and adoration of the place and people called West bend.


One of the greatest gifts that God gave to Mr. Allan. was the gift of giving back to people without seeking something in return. His selfless giving was simply an extension of his desire to bring joy into the lives of others. He didn’t give in order for others to say, “Wow look at Allan Kieckhafer.” He did it because it was a part of his gift. He was a gentle giant.


His public persona was not an act. Sometimes those we love, get the worst of our personalities in private settings. But the gentleness with which Mr. Allan treated the people of West Bend, or wherever travels would take him, was the same gentleness he treated his great-grandchildren, and his grandchildren, and his children. That is who he was – gentle to the core.


Dear friends in Christ, the Bible says that although there will be weeping in the nighttime, joy comes in the morning. No matter how faulty and full of failure your days may be, the mercies of God are new in every one of your mornings. No matter how dark the darkness in your soul is, it doesn’t have a prayer in the presence of Jesus Christ.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, Jesus says, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. In Jesus day, the religious leaders spoke of the yoke of the law as a glorious obedience to God. They thought that obedience to God would free them of obligations to the world and give them rest. Jesus described that yoke as heavy, and He offers us the alternative that we would be yoked to Him. As often as fix our eyes on Christ crucified, resurrected, ascended, and coming back again, that often life gets easy. Easy in this way – a great light has come into this world, and in His presence, darkness doesn’t have a prayer. Amen.

So, kindred, today we have danced our last steps with this gentleman of this place, who was so faithfully devoted to God, to his family, and to his community. Our only task now is to accompany him with singing to the gates of paradise – his new favorite spot – where we can say to God, “Well done, God. He was a good one – kind, gentle, faithful. We thank you Loving God that you let Mr. Allan come our way and be an amazing gentle blessing for his favorite spot, West Bend, Wisconsin!” To God be the glory. Amen.

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