Robert C. Kuhn, age 87, of Omaha, Nebraska, passed away peacefully on August 15, 2023. He was born to Chet and Anna May (James) Kuhn, on June 29, 1936, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was the oldest of three siblings. His sister, Jeanne, and brother, Jim, preceded him in death.
A gifted musician, with a particular talent for the trumpet, Bob toured the Midwest in the 1950s as part of a traveling dance band. He attended the University of Kansas with the intention of becoming a music teacher, but later switched to Civil Engineering, an interest he shared with his father.
He married the former Betty Witt in 1961 and, after graduating from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1962, he and Betty moved to Los Angeles, where he performed structural testing on Lockheed Corp’s space shuttle prototype, briefly, before going to work as a building inspector for the City of Los Angeles.
He earned an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Southern California and left the building department to become a partner in Smith-Emery, a building materials testing lab, also in Los Angeles.
In 1977, he joined Union Pacific Railroad as a bridge inspector in Omaha and subsequently helped start the company’s environmental engineering division. After retiring from the railroad in the early 1990s he spent several years as a FEMA contractor, inspecting disaster-damaged buildings. This work, which included Hurricane Andrew, the Northridge, California earthquake, and the 9/11 attack, among others, often made him an eyewitness to history.
He and Betty travelled extensively throughout the United States, visiting friends and family. Hawaii was a favorite destination.
During his time in Los Angeles, he and Betty became part of a long-running contract bridge group, making lifelong friends and memories including family camping trips throughout the Western United States.
He was good at his job, but he was better at being a husband to Betty and father to Brad (Darlyn), Beckie, Gary (Amy), Cindi (Tom). He also cherished his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Bob made family his top priority and he made life a feast of experiences: from annual camping trips, Little League baseball games, Pop Warner football, Indian Guides, and Sunday night family gatherings for Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and the Wonderful World of Disney. He taught his kids to hike, bike, waterski (and pour concrete) and encouraged them to seek the beauty of music and nature. Everything, from morning pancakes to cross-country road trips, were engineered with love and attention to detail.
A gifted storyteller and amateur magician, he kept the kids enthralled with bedtime stories and close magic tricks. He was known for his sharp wit and family dinners were always alive with banter.
Although there came a time when he eventually put away his trumpet, he found many opportunities to play over the years, in numerous ensembles through the Tangier Shrine, and his family will always treasure memories of him practicing, music propped on his velvet-lined trumpet case, making beautiful music, working up a sweat – the faintest hint of valve oil mixed with Old Spice hanging in the air.
Visitation: Monday, August 28th, 9-10 a.m., West Center Chapel, followed by service and reception. Service streamed online live at www.heafeyheafey.com. Private family burial.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to Cure KCNH1 Foundation, www.curekcnh1.org, a nonprofit patient advocacy organization dedicated to raising awareness about KCNH1 genetic disorders and improving the lives of children and families by advancing research in the search for better treatment options and a cure.