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Obituary for Sister Clara Mae Kuempel, FSPA

Sister Clara Mae Kuempel, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA), 90, died on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at Villa St. Joseph, La Crosse, Wis. She was in the sixty-ninth year of her religious profession. Clara Mae was born in Guttenberg, Iowa to John and Hildegarde (Lake) Kuempel on March 25, 1932. She made first profession of vows with the FSPA on August 12, 1952. After profession of vows, Sister Clara Mae worked in dietary services for one year in Sparta, Wis. She then earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Viterbo College in La Crosse. She went on to teach for eight years in Calmar, Iowa, and then in Wisconsin in Genoa, St. Mary's Ridge and La Crosse (St. Michael's Orphanage) before earning a Bachelor of Arts in Occupational Therapy from St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Sister Clara Mae then returned to St. Michael's Orphanage to serve as a registered therapist. She later worked at Mendota State Hospital (Madison, Wis.) and Wood County Health Center (Marshfield, Wis.). Returning to her home in 1973 in Guttenberg to care for her father, Sister Clara Mae also ministered as an activities director and home care aid. In 1982, she moved to Waterloo, Iowa, to resume her ministry of occupational therapy, serving mainly children with severe disabilities at River Hills School. During her eight years there, she earned a Master of Pastoral Studies from Loyola University, New Orleans. In 1991, her father's need again took her to Guttenberg where she worked for the North Eastern Iowa Rehabilitation Association, providing therapy to individuals and institutions in Clayton County. From 1997 to 2007, she continued providing support services to elderly in Guttenberg through volunteer work at River Living Center and St. Mary's Parish. In her spare time she became very involved in woodcarving, a hobby she took with her to St. Rose Convent in 2008 when she retired there. With her health declining, Sister Clara Mae moved to Villa St. Joseph in 2015. Sister Clara Mae is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Thomas and Helen Kuempel from Guttenberg and her sister, Kathleen Dun, from Bedford, Texas and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Robert and James Kuempel and her sister Bernyce Elsinger. Friends may call after 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 7th, at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse. A wake service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday in Mary of the Angels Chapel. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 8th, in the convent chapel. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, La Crosse. Jandt Fredrickson Funeral Home is assisting with the services. Memorials may be sent to Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 912 Market Street, La Crosse, WI 54601-4782.