Robert Kuhlken

Obituary of Robert Thomas Kuhlken

Robert Thomas Kuhlken, 67, passed away on Jan. 1, 2021. Bob was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Robert Kuhlken and Eleanor Doran Kuhlken, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia McGill Kuhlken; his stepson, Jeff Acker; and his brothers William Kuhlken, Kevin Kuhlken, and Karl Kuhlken. Bob was a lifelong scholar, educator, and tireless observer of the natural world. He was more comfortable outdoors than in, and always eager to explore new terrain. He studied at UVA Wise and Oregon State University and was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study agricultural terracing in the Fiji Islands while earning his doctoral degree in geography from Louisiana State University. His specialization in human geography and his focus on land management fit perfectly with his desire to learn and explore. He favored traveling via public transportation on excursions throughout Mexico, South America, Polynesia, New Zealand, and Europe, to get an unfiltered view of the local culture. He brought the results of these travels to the classroom, sharing his firsthand experience with his students. He taught college geography for more than three decades, spending most of his career at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, where he retired in 2015 as professor emeritus in geography. More than anything, Bob loved to be outdoors with friends and family -- hiking, fishing, sailing, biking, gardening or just feeding the birds in the backyard. In remembrance, please donate to the National Park of your choice. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at a later date, when those who knew him can gather safely. Arrangements are being handled by Updike Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Bedford.
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