Monsignor Norbert George Kuehler, the senior priest of the Diocese of Amarillo, passed away March 26, 2022. He was 92 years old.
A rosary will be recited Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at 6:00 p.m., at St. Laurence Church, 2300 North Spring. Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, March 31, 2022, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1200 S. Washington, Bishop Patrick J. Zurek, presiding, with priests of the Diocese of Amarillo concelebrating. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Groom, TX. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
According to diocesan records, Norbert George Kuehler was born June 1, 1929, in Groom, the fifth child of Matthew J. and Lena Weller Kuehler. He attended St. Mary’s School in Groom and Groom High School. After majoring in business administration at Amarillo College, Kuehler entered St. John’s Seminary in San Antonio for studies in philosophy and then completed studies in theology at Assumption Seminary, also in San Antonio.
In a June 28, 2015, interview in a Vocations Issue for The West Texas Catholic, Monsignor Kuehler reflected on his vocation story. “Actually, when I was in elementary school about sixth, seventh, or eighth grade, I thought about it, but the family could not afford for me to go to the seminary at that time,” he said. “I went on to Groom High School and graduated from there in 1946. I went to Amarillo College and graduated from there in 1948. When I finished that I sent all my records to West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University). But I got to thinking that I was still thinking about the vocation to the priesthood. I went to my pastor in Groom, Father Andrew Quante, and he took care of the paperwork.”
Kuehler was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1955, by then-Bishop Lawrence J. FitzSimon at St. Lucien’s Chapel on the campus of Price Memorial College. He remains the only person who was ordained to the priesthood at St. Lucien’s. Father Kuehler celebrated his first Mass on May 31, 1955, at St. Mary’s Church, Groom.
Father Kuehler’s first assignment was as associate pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Rowena (now in the Diocese of San Angelo). On Oct. 15, 1955, he was appointed associate pastor at St. Joseph’s Church, Amarillo.
After nearly four years at St. Joseph’s, on May 15, 1959, Father Kuehler was named parochial vicar at St. Laurence Church, Amarillo. On that same day, he was appointed financial secretary and assistant Chancellor for the Diocese of Amarillo. Subsequently, Father Kuehler was appointed administrator at St. Laurence on Oct. 1, 1962, and pastor on May 27, 1964.
During his tenure at St. Laurence, Father Kuehler witnessed the transformation of the parish to Cathedral status on Nov. 10, 1974. On the diocesan level, he was appointed as Chancellor on Sept. 1, 1974.
Father Kuehler became Monsignor Kuehler on July 1, 1985, when he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope (now Saint) John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor. On July 1, 1986, he was named pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church, Borger, and its mission, St. Ann’s Church, Stinnett, where he remained until he was granted retirement from active ministry on July 1, 2005. After he retired from active ministry, Monsignor Kuehler was named chaplain at St. Francis Convent, Amarillo.
Monsignor Kuehler was asked in 2015 how he wished to be remembered. “Just as a pastor who tried to be friendly to the people, who listened to them and helped to direct and guide them, in their spiritual life,” he said.
Monsignor Kuehler was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Arnold Kuehler; four sisters, Florence Smith, Frances Bischel, Etheldreda Trujillo and Dorothy Kuehler.
Survivors include numerous nieces and nephews; great-nieces and great-nephews; and a number of cousins.