In tribute: Student remembered for determination

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer

Family members said Samuel Kuni never let his size or his handicap keep him down.

Born four months premature and later handicapped with impaired vision, Kuni had a huge heart, they said.

Kuni, 12, died on Oct. 3 at a Lubbock hospital from complications due to a staph infection, family members said.

Kuni’s mother, Cindy Kuni, was by her son’s side in the hospital everyday for two months until he passed, she said.

Kuni was taken to the hospital before his first football practice, Cindy Kuni said.
“Samuel always wanted to play football” said his grandmother, Roberta Kuni. “He didn’t let his vision problems stop him.”

“He liked church, football, computers, school and riding his bike,” Neil Kuni said of his only son.

Doctors told Samuel’s parents that because he was so small and premature they had concerns he may not make it home.

“We brought him home in cabbage-patch clothes,” Neil Kuni said.

Samuel loved school, according to his fifth-grade teacher, Wendy Hubby.

Hubby said she had large print books brought into her classroom so Kuni could read along with his peers.

“He loved computers,” Hubby said. “He had difficulty seeing the screen so he’d almost sit up on top of it.”

After scratching bug bites he got on his knee at summer camp, Samuel told his dad his leg was bothering him. At the hospital he had difficulty breathing because his staph infection had spread to his lungs, Kuni’s father said.

Samuel spent two months in intensive care, taking his last breath as his mother and father held his hand, Neil and Cindy Kuni said.

“I told him I’d meet him at the gates of heaven, and ‘Samuel smiled,’” he said.

In Tribute is a regular feature. To suggest an honoree, contact CNJ managing editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail: rick_white@link.freedom.com