James C. Kuhl
1921 - 1990
Love - My King"
"Jim was really
a gentleman. He cared about people. He believed that everybody
should have a break, and if it was up to him, he gave them a break.
I have never heard him say anything bad about anybody."--John
was born in Perry, Iowa, and moved to Des Moines when he was in
high school. He became interested in flying at the age of seven,
and five years later he earned his first airplane ride -- the
prize for running a successful paper route for the Des Moines
Register and Tribune.
During World War II, Jim piloted one hundred missions
against strategic targets in Europe, flying P-47 Thunderbolts
and P-51 Mustangs.
After six years in the U.S. Air Force, Jim joined
the Air Force Reserves. He commanded the 9898th Air Force Reserve
Unit at Patrick Air Force Base, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
After World War II he settled in Milwaukee. He
moved to Brevard County, Florida in 1965.
He was a member of the Order of Daedalians, Spaceflight
6, the P-47 Thunderbolt Pilots Association, and the Air Force
Association at Patrick Air Force Base.
A lover of golf, Jim was a charter member of the
Suntree Country Club in Melbourne, Florida, where he served on
Jim was a founder of the Celestis Group in Melbourne.
In the fall of 1983 Beauford Franklin (who will also be on the
Founder's Flight), John Cherry, and Jim formed Celestis -- the
first company to offer a space funeral service.
Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever
reaping something new:
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they
For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;
Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;
Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunder-storm;
Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson
"Locksley Hall" 1842
As a combat pilot, Jim Kuhl was a heroic member of the U.S. Army
Air Corps, and lived to see the furling of the battle flags of
both the Second World War and the Cold War. He dipped into the
future with his vision of Celestis, foreseeing a time when the
heavens would thrive with commerce. He was a space entrepreneur
who, as a part of the Founders Flight, will sail in the
purple twilight of the skies.