Hugh C. Kuhlman, 92, of Byron, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, at Cottagewood Memory Care in Rochester, where he had been a resident since 2015.
Hugh was born in Worth County, Iowa, on Sept. 10, 1927, to Sophus and Jennie (Messenger) Kuhlmann. He was 2 years old when their family moved to Byron.
After graduating from Byron H.S. in 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a Naval Aviator. In I949, he married Betty Loken at the Methodist Church in Byron, and then the couple moved to San Diego, where Hugh was stationed. He was deployed overseas during the Korean Conflict, when his plane was hit and he was able to glide it into Inchon Bay, where he was rescued. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1952, Julie was born in Pensacola, Fla., and in 1953, Craig was born in Portsmouth, Va.
In 1954, following Hugh's discharge, the Kuhlman family moved back to rural Byron, where they bought a farm, raised their family and lived and farmed for many years. In 1957, Hugh was employed at IBM in Rochester as a draftsman. He later became an engineering manager at IBM, retiring in 1982. Betty was a homemaker and helped on the farm.
Hugh enjoyed spending many weekends over his lifetime with his family at their cabin on Mille Lac Lake. He also loved flying and bought a Navion aircraft. There were many fun and exciting trips within the U.S. and also in Mexico. In 1982, Hugh designed and built a hexagon home in Arkansas, where he and Betty enjoyed square dancing and couples golf. Later, they moved to Florida, where they lived until 2010 before moving to Homestead Senior Living in Rochester. He loved time spent with his family, especially his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Hugh's faith was an important part of his life. He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Byron. We thank Pastor Nirmala for all her visits and also the loving care that Hugh received by the staff at Cottagewood and Heartland Hospice. Hugh was also a member of the Byron American Legion Post 119.
Hugh is survived by his wife, Betty; his daughter, Julie (Terry) Bird of Byron; his son, Craig Kuhlman (Vicki Schroeder) of Travelers Rest, S.C.; four grandchildren, Malia Grant of Byron, Amy Shillabeer of Byron, Dan (Bridget) Bird of Onalaska, Wis., and Dr. Taylor Kuhlman of Birmingham, Ala.; five great-grandchildren, Hayley, Abby (Cody), Alysha, Sean and Nate; and great-great-grandchildren, Yolandi and Allis; two brothers, Duane Kuhlmann of Spanish Fort, Ala., and Lyle Kuhlmann of Rochester; two brothers-in-law, Virgil "Lars" Loken of Fair Oaks, Calif., and Ronald Loken of Palm Desert, Calif. Hugh was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Ken Kuhlmann.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Christ Lutheran Church in Byron with Rev. Nirmala Reinschmidt officiating. A time of visitation for family and friends will take place one hour prior to the service at the church. A private family burial with military graveside honors will take place at Byron Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Research or Christ Lutheran Church in Byron. Arrangements are being handled by Griffin-Gray Funeral Home in Stewartville. Condolences and memories of Hugh are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com.