Wednesday, November 09, 2005


One of the Greatest Generation's great men passed away yesterday. He is a friend of my family's and very astute intellectual worthy of national coverage. As well, he was involved in the invasion of Normandy during WWII as a French interpreter. He was, however, humble enough not to need nor seek the limelight. His wife was also my high school english teacher, freshman year mostly, but I continue to learn from her to this day. I will share this article with you from the Trenton Times:

University's Robert Kuenne dies

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Staff Writer

Robert E. Kuenne, a Princeton University professor since the 1950s who published more than 100 works on economics and military strategy and was a veteran of World War II's D-Day invasion, has died at his Princeton home.

The St. Louis native, whose first degree was in journalism, died Saturday of Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 81.

Kuenne earned bachelor's and master's degrees in economics and a doctorate from Harvard on his way to becoming a noted national economist, longtime U.S. military adviser and Fulbright Scholar.

Kuenne joined the Princeton faculty in 1956 after teaching at Harvard and the University of Virginia. He retired from full-time work in 1997 as a professor emeritus.

At Princeton, Kuenne served and taught in a variety of capacities and was a prolific publisher of work.

The university said he was known for designing and teaching, for 30 years, a course titled "Analyses of Capitalism," and he taught microeconomic theory in the undergraduate program and general equilibrium theory at the graduate level.

His writings on economic theories ranged from oligopoly to spatial and defense economics. And he was affiliated with several scholarly journals as an editor or board member.

"It is considered a cliche to say that someone is `a gentleman and a scholar' but somehow the cliche fit Bob Kuenne perfectly," Alan Blinder, a Princeton economics professor, said in a university statement.

Concurrent to his Ivy League teaching and writing, Kuenne was a military expert. He taught at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., for years, and was a longtime consultant to the Institute for Defense Analysis, a research arm for the Defense Department.

Kuenne's military prowess started in June 1944 as a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier who landed with Allied forces in the second wave of the D-Day invasion of France's Normandy coast.

Kuenne's wife, Janet Brown Kuenne, recalled yesterday how even as a soldier her husband was a scholar. Kuenne wanted to join the weather observer corps, but the Army had no slots, so they sent him to a government unit and promptly shipped him off to Bard College, where he learned French.

When he landed in Normandy, Kuenne served in forward areas as a translator for Allied troops and spoke fluent French.

The skill served him well in 1994, when he was a dignitary guest at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the invasion in Normandy, which he attended with his wife and daughter and son-in-law.

The Kuennes spent a week in Normandy and Robert toured the invasion beaches by airplane, including Utah Beach where he landed, and the apple orchards of the Carentan region, where he recalled sleeping in a pup tent.

"He said it was very moving to go over the beaches, to be where he had been 50 years before," Janet Brown Kuenne said yesterday. Also incredibly moving was a walk the family took through the American cemetery in Normandy, where Robert Kuenne drifted away and roamed the acres of headstones. "There were certain graves he was stopping at and they were his age, (men) that were born in 1924. He was just very quiet," Janet Kuenne said.

Bringing his service full circle, Robert and his wife traveled to England a few years ago and found the family that he was first billeted with in the town of Bristol in 1944, Ed and Edna Meades, who during the war were a young couple with a small boy and a baby on the way.

In a destined stroke of luck, the Kuennes called on the Meades on the day of the couple's 65th wedding anniversary party, and were welcomed in like family for the festivities, Janet Kuenne said.


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