In Memoriam

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Wayne E. Kuhn ’25

Wayne E. Kuhn ’25, March 29, 1997, in Portland. After graduating from Reed, he headed for MIT in his 1915 Model T, but the car "gave up the ghost" in Ithaca, New York, so, largely by accident, he received a PhD in chemical engineering from Cornell University. He married Agnes Lakie ’27 in 1929, and after his graduation from Cornell, Wayne and Agnes moved to Port Arthur, Texas, where he began his lifelong career with Texaco. In 1937, he was relocated to the company’s New York facilities. He advanced from research chemist to general manager, research and technical, with supervision of over 1500 employees. Under his guidance, major strides were made in aviation fuel, motor oil additives, and other automotive fluid advances. He also wrote a number of papers on the subject of petrochemicals and petroleum research. During World War II, he was involved in many aspects of government and the military, receiving medals from the army, navy, and the French underground. Among his contributions to the war effort was his development of a device that stalled cars, which was credited with helping prevent the Germans from reaching the Mediterranean by disabling their tanks. In 1965, he retired from Texaco, and he and his wife relocated to Portland and Depoe Bay, Oregon. In retirement, he continued as a professional engineer and management consultant and served on the Business Advisory Council on Federal Reports until 1990. He was a member and officer of many professional associations, including former president of the American Institute of Chemists and the Commercial Chemical Development Association. His long service to chemical research and engineering earned him a number of awards, including AIC’s gold medal in 1967 and CCDA’s honor award in 1970. In 1989, he was honored for 50 years of membership in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. His other interests included lapidary and philately, his interest in the latter having arisen from his summer jobs with the Portland Post Office while attending Reed. In 1986, he donated a substantial stamp collection to Reed College which now endows the Wayne and Agnes Kuhn Scholarship Fund. Survivors include his son, William; two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Agnes died in 1988.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 1997

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