Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Bill Kuhns celebrating his 100th birthday today

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Bill Kuhns of Chesterton is celebrating his 100th birthday on June 9.

Bill was born near Casey, IL, into a farm family that endured many difficult years during his childhood. The familyís economic challenges forced him to drop out of high school after his junior year to help out at home. He ventured out on his own at age 18 and supported himself with a variety of odd jobs, primarily helping out as a farmhand during the Depression years.

In 1938 Bill met the love of his life, Dorothy, while they were both working for the same family. Their relationship developed as WWII approached, and they decided to postpone marriage until he returned from WWII. Bill joined the Army in 1942, trained in Utah and shipped out to the European Theater. Once in England, his abilities were recognized and he was quickly reassigned to the Army Air Corps, forerunner of todayís Air Force. Bill saw considerable action in the war and flew 17 missions on B -17 bombers over various targets in Germany, primarily as a tail gunner. He was also heavily involved in D-Day action and in the Battle of the Bulge.

Bill returned to the U.S. after the war and married Dorothy early in 1946. They relocated to Gary and began raising their three sons in their new home, moving to 12th street in Chesterton in 1955. Bill was active in the Porter branch of the VFW, serving as the local Commander for a few years. He was also involved with the Masons, and participated in many of his sonsí various activities over the years.

Bill worked at U.S. Steel in Gary for 36 years, retiring in 1982. He and Dorothy then headed to sunnier climes in Florida and spent over 20 years enjoying the retirement life there. They loved driving all over the country, and were fortunate to be able to visit nearly all 50 states. They dearly enjoyed venturing down every interesting-looking road they encountered. They relocated back to Chesterton in 2006 to be closer to family. He and Dorothy were inseparable until her passing in 2017. Bill continues to enjoy spending time with his family, especially his many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even a great-great granddaughter and great-great grandson.

Bill has survived the successes and shenanigans of 18 U.S. Presidents, beginning with Woodrow Wilson. He hopes to vote for a few more – an even 20 seems like a nice goal. Bill remains feisty, alert, informed, humorous and often argumentative. Although frequently wrong about things, Bill is never in doubt. He even possesses a valid driverís license – not much of an endorsement of the license bureausí standards. Fortunately, his sons and daughters-in-law are also alert and capable of disabling his beloved Chrysler so he doesnít decide to go on a nighttime cruise around the Port one of these evenings. His sonsí problem-free conduct in their younger years and many achievements as adults over the decades have fueled Billís continuing zest for life and sense of adventure.

Bill is very proud of the Quilt of Valor that was presented to him on his 98th birthday by the Chesterton United Methodist Church and the ale ďThe TailgunnerĒ created in recognition of his service by the Chesterton Brewery. He and the rest of the family are very fortunate to have his granddaughter, Rhonda Miller, living with him and providing loving care on an around-the-clock basis.

The family is proud to celebrate a very long life, very well-lived.

 

 

Posted 6/9/2020

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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