Richard E. Kuehne, 93
September 28, 2011
ROCKPORT — Richard E. Kuehne of Rockport, passed away
on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 at the age of 93 from natural causes.
He is survived by his son, Hal and his daughters
Lindsay and Meg; grandchildren, Ian Kuehne, Meghan Kuehne, Paul
Turnquist Jr., and Max Turnquist, and great-granddaughter, Adalyn
Kuehne. He was the son of a prominent landscape painter and decorative
furniture maker, Max Kuehne.
Richard led a diverse and fascinating life. He was a
graduate of Solebury, and then Amherst College. He served on a Navy
sub-chaser in World War II.
After the war, he was a curator at the Cloisters in
New York City, and served briefly as the director of a private museum
in Saginaw, Michigan. After a move to Kingston, N.Y, he worked as a
shipyard welder by day, and perfected his father's gilding techniques
in his spare time. He was hired as the Curator of History at the West
Point Military Museum. Richard spent the next 24 years at the West
Point, soon moving to the position of museum director. He was the
first civilian director in the museum's history. He was responsible
for turning a very large collection of arms and armour into the
largest military museum in the western hemisphere. Under his
direction, the museum became a popular destination for visitors to the
academy. He introduced huge dioramas showing battle scenes, and
interactive displays, such as a World War I dugout made of sandbags
that could be walked through. He gave lectures in military armament to
the cadets while dressed in a suit of armor; and was known to call an
unsuspecting cadet up to the lecture podium to balance an apple on his
head while the proper technique for shooting a crossbow was
purportedly to be demonstrated. The lecture would end before the bow
was fired, but he had the full attention of the entire body of cadets
for the whole lecture.
His interests were many and varied. He was a member
of squash and tennis clubs at West Point, as well as being a member of
the West Point Flying Club, and an enthusiastic skier. He had his
grandfather's passion for racing Star boats. As a long-standing member
of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club, he spent hours on the wharf tinkering
with his boat. He was an excellent amateur photographer.
Upon his retirement, he moved to Rockport, where his
own father had summered since Richard was a small boy. Following in
his father's footsteps, he spent much of his time sculpting and
gilding in his workshop.
ARRANGEMENTS: Services will be announced at a
later date. He will be truly missed. Arrangements are by the Burgess &
Mackey Funeral Home, 201 Main St., Rockport. Online condolences may be
given at: www.greelyfuneralhome.com.