Warren Eugene Kuehner passed away on August 8, 2023, after a brief stay at the Denver Hospice.
Warren was born on May 3, 1944, to Marjorie Templeton Kuehner and Eugene Kuehner in McAlester, Oklahoma. The oldest of five children, Warren attended McAlester High School where he was an avid debater and President of the McAlester chapter of the National Forensic League. He spent his summers working as a busboy and dishwasher (he also had to peel potatoes) at his uncle Bill Prichard’s restaurant in nearby Krebs, Pete’s Place. He and his brothers lamented the fact that unlike their sister Marcia, who waited tables, they didn’t receive tips. He also did a few stints at Mike Lovera’s grocery store in Krebs, which is where he developed his love of caciocavallo cheese.
He continued his educational journey at the University of Oklahoma where he was a member of the Freshman Honors Class and received a President’s Leadership Award. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Math and continued on for his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He would later also complete a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Colorado.
While studying for his Master’s at OU he met Betty Jacober, also a student, through the University’s Newman Center, an organization for Roman Catholic students. While friends first (they even took a road trip with other friends up to Montreal, Canada to attend the Expo ‘67), their relationship deepened and they were married on March 23, 1968 at a small church in Norman, Oklahoma.
Soon after the marriage Warren’s student military deferment was withdrawn and he received his draft notice. This was 1968 — conflict in Vietnam was still raging. In a stroke of good fortune he was able to secure an appointment in the Air Force, spending the next 3 months at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas undergoing Officer Training. He was commissioned that same year. After basic training, he was assigned to the Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) in Los Angeles, California. While there, Warren was awarded the “Junior Officer of the Quarter” Honor. The young couple settled in Inglewood, and their first daughter, Jennifer, was born the day after Christmas in 1968. Their second daughter, Mary, was born in January of 1971.
In 1972 Warren and Betty had the opportunity to move to Munich, Germany as part of an Air Force scientist exchange program. Prior to moving, though, they spent 8 months in Monterrey, California learning German at the Defense Language Institute. His stint in Germany as an exchange scientist involved working in the aerospace industry at a quasi-governmental company, IABG, in Ottobrunn. The family’s three years in Germany proved to be a milestone in expanding their outlook and cultural awareness. They were able to make lifelong friends while there.
Upon returning to the United States in 1975 Warren was assigned to Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Because of a Reduction in Force after Vietnam, Warren was discharged from the Air Force in 1976 and he secured a job with Hewlett Packard as a Systems Engineer. The family moved to Denver. Warren left Hewlett Packard when the opportunity arose to form a software development company, Information Resources. He continued in the field of Information Technology, working as a professor, teaching at both Metropolitan State College (now University) and later at the Women’s College at the University of Denver, from where he retired in 2008. During this time he consulted with US West and ultimately spent several years as part of the team that brought cellular technology to Eastern Europe, Russia and Indonesia.
Betty and Warren were avid travelers to locales both in the United States and abroad. Their time in Germany enamored them of Europe, and they frequently returned to visit friends and also see other parts of the continent. In 1985 they took their teenage daughters on a 5-week backpacking trip through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, which Mary and Jennifer absolutely didn’t appreciate at the time (but they do now). Their interest in learning about other cultures led to becoming involved in the student exchange program Youth For Understanding and the family hosted a Spanish daughter during the 1987-1988 school year. Raquel remains an important and much-loved part of the family.
After retirement Betty and Warren visited further-flung locations like India, Bhutan, and China. They went to Chautauqua, New York with friends every summer for their concert and lecture series, traveled frequently to Taos, New Mexico and the Colorado mountains, and visited many of the National Parks.
Warren and Betty’s time in Germany in the early 70s fueled a love of the outdoors. Warren was an avid hiker, and “bagged” several 14ers over the years. Only once did he slip while hurrying down the mountain to avoid a thunderstorm and end up in the emergency room with minor injuries. His daughter Mary is grateful to the friend who brought him home from the mountain and left him at the door saying “I think you need to take your dad to the hospital.” The family hiked and cross-country skied together.
Warren’s interests were varied. He enjoyed all types of music, and preferred jazz (especially New Orleans Dixieland) and classical. His mother often commented that his interest in classical music started young – at five years old! He participated in two book clubs, one (shout-out to the Full of Lit gang) that has met regularly since the 90s and another that focuses on natural resources and land use. He was also involved in a science interest group (that only occasionally talked about science) and a math interest group (that actually did talk about math).
Warren lived a life of service and volunteered his time for causes he felt strongly about, including answering phones for KUVO’s regular pledge drives and leading tours of LoDo and Larimer Square for Historic Denver.
More notably, in 1994, Warren and Betty spent a year living in Slovakia teaching English as part of the Education for Democracy program. They spent time in both Komárno and Liptovský Mikuláš and developed friendships there that continue to thrive. The whole family was fortunate to be able to visit Komarno in December of 2022 to reconnect with the place and the people who made an important impact on them.
In recent days Warren’s family has received many notes from friends and family who remember Warren as a kind, generous and loving man. He was warm, witty, and enjoyed deep conversations about important (and not-so-important) topics. He had a (mostly) great sense of humor which only occasionally devolved into terrible dad-jokes. He rarely complained, and his standard response when asked how things were was “fine.” He was a true gentle man and will be missed terribly.
Warren is survived by his wife, Betty, his daughters Jennifer and Mary, his brother, John (Rickie) Kuehner, sister-in-law Doli Mathews, and many nieces, nephews, and extended family.