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F. Blaine Kuhn

May 4, 1925 - August 19, 2021

F. Blaine KuhnOn Thursday, August 19, 2021, Salem lost longtime community member, Blaine Kuhn, age 96, who dedicated his life to serving others. Blaine’s passing was due to pneumonia and kidney cancer.

Franklin Blaine Kuhn was born May 4, 1925, to Louis Homer Kuhn and Evan Munson Kuhn in Zillah, WA. At age 10 he lost his father, so he worked to help support his family by doing odd jobs, summer fruit processing jobs and delivering newspapers. He fully participated in sports and school activities including student government, debate, and drama. He excelled at basketball and earned his name “Tall Fir”. Blaine’s life was significantly influenced by his active involvement in Scouting’s young program, which culminated in achieving Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout. He regularly went to church with his Scoutmaster’s family and enjoyed its youth group.

Blaine graduated early from Zillah High School in December 1943, to enter a Naval Officer Training Program at the University of Washington. This program was canceled so he was reassigned to Navy Radio School and served on the Destroyer Tender USS Hamul, Based out of Buchner Bay, Okinawa. Following the end of WWII, Blaine resumed studies at the University of Washington, graduating with a Business major in August of 1950. While at “the U”, Blaine continued his BSA involvement through membership in the Boy Scouts Service Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. For extra ‘spending money’ Blaine worked as a house boy at a campus sorority. That is where he first saw Barbara Johnston, and soon announced to his best friend co-houseboy, “That’s who I’m going to marry!” And less than two years later, on June 11, 1950, they were united in marriage in Port Angeles, WA. They took a honeymoon road trip to British Columbia in his 1929 Model A Ford.

Upon their return, Blaine finished his degree and pursued employment. The FBI and a CPA offered him a job, but working in a program he highly valued won out. He began his career working for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), Chief Seattle Council. Blaine and Barbara had two daughters, Suzanne and Sarah before leaving Seattle in January 1958 for a position with the Portland Area Council, BSA. The family of four moved to Beaverton, Oregon and grew to five with the birth of son Steve. Baline served in the Portland Area council as District Executive of Pioneer and Sunset Trail Districts, and Field Director over 7 District Executives and their districts. Blaine and his family moved to Salem, Oregon in July 1968, when he was promoted to Scout Executive of the Cascade Area Council (Marion, Polk & Linn Counties).

Blaine was an excellent organizer and program facilitator. He helped plan and directed the Portland Council Scout Capades and became known nationally for his show producing skills. He was part of the Finale Show Production Team for National and International Jamborees. He served on staff for several BSA National Training Programs. He served as BSA Camp Director or Staff at many BSA camps: Fife, Parsons, Spirit Lake (now gone), Cooper, Meriwether, Clark, Pioneer, Morrison and Philmont National Scouts Ranch. Many years of happy memories were made to camps spending time with scouts. When possible, he brought his whole family, sometimes including pet rabbits, cats and dogs. Camping in tents and trailers with family and friends was a lifelong love.

Blaine was the Scout Executive in Salem until he retired in 1985, serving 35 years as a BSA Professional. In addition to Scouting, Blaine was an active member of the Downtown Salem Rotary Service Club (serving as club secretary for over fifteen years). He and Barbara enjoyed working with the Kawagoe-Salem Sister City Program, hosting visitors, and going on an exchange visit to Kawagoe, Japan. In retirement, he became a Master Gardener, serving as local president, Oregon State President and starting the Master Gardener Fair (which became AGFEST). He regularly read with elementary students through Salem-Keizer District programs. Whenever he gave of his time, it was helping and serving others.

Throughout his long life Blaine’s faith was very important to him. During their 53 years in Salem, he and his wife Barbara were rooted in faith with their “church family” as members of First Christian Church. They established many close friendships and until the last ten years, always held leadership positions. They felt blessed through 50+ years of fellowship there.

Blaine deeply loved and prioritized his family. They will greatly miss their “Papa”: his captivating smiles and caring inquiries, his encouragement and support, quick witty sense of humor, blessings and thanks at family gatherings, and his faithful love and devotion to his wife, especially as her dementia progressed. Watching his kids, grandkids and even great grandchildren grow up and participate in Scouts, sports, and activities through the years, gave him great pride and joy.

We all will miss his engaging presence, true friendship, and immense love in our lives. His distinctive voice -- conducting meetings, leading prayers, offering wisdom, telling a joke, and sharing carefully crafted limericks odes at celebrations -- is forever in our ears.

Blaine is survived by his wife of 71 years, Barbara Johnston Kuhn. He is also survived by children Suzanne Witter (Terry), Sarah Dalke (Tom), and Steve Kuhn (Gwen); eight grandchildren: Megan Witter Watters, Elizabeth Witter Freeman (Tom), Blaine Witter (Mariah), Tom Dalke (Robin), Courtney Dalke Brozovich (Matt), Daniel Kuhn, Alyssa Kuhn Marquand (Dave) and Ryan Kuhn (BreAnn) and eight great grandchildren: Clayton & Paul Watters, Celeste & Taryn Freeman, Genevieve & Juniper Dalke, Henry & Jackson Brozovich. Preceding Blaine in death were his parents, his brother Robert, sister Eva Lou Grimsley, and great granddaughter Savannah Watters.

A celebration of life will be help at 2pm on October 10th at First Christian Church. For those unable to attend, a live stream of the service will be available at Memorial contributions in Blaine’s name may be made to: First Christian Church Memorial Fund, 685 Marion Street NE, Salem, OR 97301; Cascade Pacific Council , Boy Scouts of America (Camp Pioneer), 2145 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97201. 

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To the family of Blaine Kuhn,
My condolences go out to you upon Blaine’s death. He was wonderful man who led a rich life of service to others.
Blaine and I were both active members of First Christian Church.  He was also a friend of my father, Les Morgan, there. They connected because both were adult leaders in youth organizations, my dad in Camp Fire Girls and Blaine in Boy Scouts. I send my prayers for your whole family as you grieve your loss and celebrate his wonderful life.
Dana Morgan McBrien