If you knew Mr.Sawdust—WM Kunkel— as one of his students, you knew him as a master woodworker and teacher; a perfectionist, a sincere yet no nonsense kind of guy. If you have read his book, “How to Master the Radial Saw” you know that he was a salesman for AMF (American Machine and Foundry) in the 50’s and sold hundreds of DeWalt radial arm saws! If you knew him as a father or grandfather you knew him as a complex man who loved and protected family with a vengeance. As his daughter, I knew him as a loving dad, a great inspiration to do my best at whatever I was doing-and I knew him as a Christian.
He had many struggles in this area, especially throughout his early years, having grown up “in the church” in the Bible Belt. It was not until the early 70’s, during somewhat of a Revival in the Northeast part of the country, that true faith in Christ and His saving power became a reality in dad’s life. It was under the preaching of Pastor Gerald Scott,“The Preacher” he called him; pastor at the time of the Washington Assembly of God, Washington NJ. He was a man dad loved and admired; one who visited and prayed with him throughout his final weeks.
It was during the 70’s that dad crossed paths with the author of the following letter, Richard Johnson and his family. The letter was written to my brother Bruce (#2 son of Mr.Sawdust) and passed on to me. It was a delight to read!
The letter speaks for itself:
My name is Richard Johnson, and you don't know me, but besides the awesome legacy your Dad left your family, I must tell you my story, for I am a result of how your Dad lived his life.
I was raised in New Jersey and the oldest of three. We lived in Carpentersville, NJ when I was 12 yrs. old. My mother and step-father were having marital difficulties in those days, but one day a man (a salesman) came to visit, and I don't remember what he was selling but what we got changed our lives and the course of my destiny and the lives of so many in my family. As you've already guessed, that man was Wally Kunkel, and I've never forgotten his name. I don't know all that was said around our table that day, but I do know he invited our family to church (Washington Assembly of God) and my parents gave their hearts to the Lord that next Sunday! I answered the altar call that following Sunday, and my life has never been the same. I went on to serve the Lord and married in 1982. I married Robin Silverthorn from Washington, and we have now raised 3 wonderful children and have 5 grandchildren with 1 on the way in October and we all live in Springfield, Missouri. I am an Assemblies of God minister and Robin and I have both been battling stage IV cancers now since 2007. We are 50 and 52 yrs. old.
I'm writing Bruce, because I want you and your family to know while I still have time to convey the message to your family how much your Dad meant to my family so many years ago! I didn't have the opportunity to know your mom, but God used your dad in a marvelous way to bring us to Christ and it not only changed my destiny for eternity, but the lives of all my family members too! Our children and grandchildren are serving Jesus today, and we can trace it back to Wally Kunkel! Bruce, I would hope you are continuing that spiritual heritage your dad left behind to follow. He was a great man with a wonderful work ethic and all the rest, but I'll be in heaven because a "salesman" came to our house in 1973, and what we got was priceless!
Please share this with your family, and feel free to call or write!
Richard and his wife Robin are presently at the point of needing hospice care. They have shared their journey through a recently released book, “Through the Valley.” I am presently reading their story and finding that although I have never experienced battling cancer, it is speaking to my heart amidst my own circumstances; circumstances that go beyond my own strength and understanding and to the feet of the only One sufficient for these things. Their's is also a love story, one of courage and true devotion to one another.
Looking for a true story of God's faithfulness in the midst of the valley? Our book, "Through the Valley" will encourage anyone going through a difficult time to fully trust the Lord. Robin and I have been battling terminal cancers for the past six years, and this is our story of hope and His faithfulness. Get your copy, or you can buy a (5) pack to share with family and friends at a discount!
Thank you for your support!
....And tell them Mr.Sawdust sent you!