George M. Kuhn

Monday, July 15, 2019

George M. Kuhn, of Concordia, Missouri, died on Friday, July 12, 2019, at the Lutheran Nursing Home in Concordia, of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 88 years old.

A visitation is planned from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Saturday, July 20, 2019, at Campbell-Lewis Chapel, 1002 E. 1st St., in Concordia, where friends may enjoy some mementos of this varied life. In lieu of flowers, memorials will be welcome at Trails Regional Library Foundation, to benefit the Concordia Branch Library, of which George was a regular supporter and patron.

He was born on July 6, 1931, in Fayette, the son of George H. and Jane Spencer Kuhn. He attended schools in St. Louis and Kansas City, and served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1951 to 1954 as a radioman, mainly on ships monitoring weather in the Pacific.

In 1957 he married Sarah Sappington of Kansas City, and had two sons. Divorced in 1967, he moved to New York City, where he met Penelope Kay from England, whom he married in August 1969.

In George’s working life, he moved from writing to teaching to acting and back again. His first job was as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. In the late 1950s and the 1960s, he wrote advertising and promotional materials for agencies in Kansas City and New York. Having had a major role in a feature film (directed by Robert Altman) in 1956, he also studied drama, and acted in university and community theatre.

When recession decimated the advertising industry in the early 1970s, George finished his Master’s degree (in Creative Writing) at Queens College in New York. He taught some courses, and in the Writing Skills Workshop, at Queens College, and taught at high schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He moved to Concordia in 1978 and taught English and Drama at Concordia High School for two years.

In the 1980s, George acted professionally at the Missouri Repertory Theatre, and other Kansas City theatres, and had roles in some commercials and two feature films. In 1987, he went back to writing: as Magnet Marketing Liaison for the Kansas City Missouri School District, he wrote promotional materials for the district’s magnet program, and board reports for staff; then, to teaching again: George joined the Peace Corps and taught at a teachers'’ college in Ciechanow, Poland for three years, from 1993 to 1996. On his return to Concordia, he wrote feature articles and opinion pieces for the local newspaper, The Concordian.

In retirement, George turned some of his verse into songs with his son Bob, and was thrilled when one of them, “Adios Lounge,” was recorded commercially with Tom Waits singing the chorus. He also enjoyed volunteer work of a practical nature, like doing computer data entry for the Senior Center and filling lunch-bags at Food4Kids.

George is survived by his wife, Penelope, of the home; his sons Bob Kuhn of San Francisco and William Kuhn of Colorado Springs; a sister, Jeanette Kuhn Moss; and one granddaughter; Sydney Kuhn of Portland, Ore.