Obituary: Carl W. Kuehne

Nov. 17, 1941 – Jan. 30, 2024

Carl W. Kuehne peacefully died on Jan. 30, 2024. He was the son of Carl and Esther Kuehne, born on Nov. 17, 1941 in Seymour, Wisconsin. Growing up, Carl attended Seymour High School and went on to receive his undergraduate degree at Ripon College before earning his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He and his wife, Mary Ellen, settled in Ledgeview, Wisconsin where he began a successful 20 year law career. Carl served as President of the local Bar Association and was a member of the Board of Governors of the State of Wisconsin Bar Association. He also served as City Attorney for his hometown, Seymour.

In 1985, Carl transitioned his professional focus to the meat industry with the acquisition of Consolidated Beef Industries (Green Bay Dressed Beef). As President and Chief Executive Officer he grew the company, now known as American Foods Group, into a Fortune 500 company. He was Chairman of the American Meat Institute and was recognized as the Meat Industry Executive of the Year in 1997. He was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame in recognition of entrepreneurship and innovative programs to serve the needs of both employees and customers. He was also involved in the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the National Meat Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Carl was instrumental in co-founding the Seymour Hamburger Festival and for many years his team at American Foods Group held the world record for the largest hamburger ever cooked.

In 2005, American Foods Group merged with another industry leader making it the largest privately held meat processing company in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Carl went on to be a driving force in a range of endeavors from a decking company to Veridocs, a security company.

Throughout his life, Carl was a mentor to many and was actively involved in various community and civic organizations as well as serving on the Boards of several businesses. He was recipient of the 2001 Free Enterprise Award presented by the Rotary Club of Green Bay. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Other community support and involvement included the American Red Cross, Brown County Literacy Council, Bellin Hospital, Green Bay Boys and Girls Club, YWCA, St. Norbert College President’s Club, NWTC Foundation Board and the establishment of the Kuehne Family Scholarship Program. As a member of the Republican National Committee, Carl enjoyed both supporting political candidates and policymaking on local and national levels.

Being invited to serve on the Packers Board of Directors was a personal highlight. It was a thrill for Carl that the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011 while he was serving on the Executive Committee for the Green Bay Packers.

Carl and Mary Ellen enjoyed travel and seeing the world, taking many trips both for business and pleasure. Together they enjoyed downhill skiing, boating, Door County and wintering in Naples, FL where they toasted the evening sunsets. 

Carl is survived by three children, Kim (Larry Follett) Kuehne, Sarah (Steve) Abts, and Scott (Carrie O’Malley) Kuehne; his five grandchildren, Kerry (Nicholas) Osborn, Braeden, Ashley, Jason and Carson; great grandchild, Wesley as well as many close friends and relatives.

Carl was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Ellen, his parents, Carl and Esther, and brothers, Dick and Terry.

The family wishes to thank the health care providers at Unity Hospice for their kind care for Carl and his family.

A visitation will be held at Ryan Funeral Home on February 18, 2024 from 2 pm to 4:30 pm, 305 North 10th Street, De Pere, Wisconsin. There will also be a Celebration of Life held at Lambeau Field on the North Balcony, on February 18, 2024 from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, 1265 Lombardi Ave., Green Bay, WI. Please enter through the American Family Insurance Gate.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Unity Hospice ( or mail to Unity Hospice, 2366 Oak Ridge Circle, De Pere, WI 54115.