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Gilbert Joseph (Gib) Kuhn

Published on -7/7/2012, 6:12 PM

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Gilbert Joseph (Gib) Kuhn, 91, died July 6th, 2012 at Via Christi Village in Hays, Kansas.

"Gib" was born in Hays, Kansas on March 13th, 1921 to Balthasar (Bill) Michael Kuhn and Mary Anna Sack. As a 1939 graduate of Russell High School, Gib enlisted in the Army and served in the European Theatre as first lieutenant in World War II.

Following his military career, Gib returned to Russell, Kansas and purchased his father's business, Kuhn's Jewelers, founded in 1930. During his career in the jewelry industry Gib became a member of the American Gem Society, Kansas Retail Jewelers Association (president 1967) and was instrumental in the formation of the Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO), a large retail/wholesale jewelry buying group.

In the 1950s, Gib further advanced the jewelry industry through his patented "Magna Scope" invention, a device that allowed for easier diamond viewing in the retail setting. With the help of his children, this device was shipped from his garage to jewelry stores across the United States. Gib expanded his jewelry business in the late 50's to include a downtown Hays store and in 1976 a location in The Mall. Throughout the years, all of his children participated in some capacity in the jewelry store with his daughter, Sari Ann, and husband Randy Reynolds, currently continuing the fine jewelry tradition 82 years later.

He was very active in many civic organizations during his time in Russell including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Knights of Columbus and a member of St. Mary's Parish.

Gib was well known in the Russell area as an avid fisherman and dedicated much of his free time to boating and fishing. During the winter months it was not uncommon to find him building a new boat at his home and garage with full family participation in anticipation of the spring weather and his many fishing expeditions with friends from the Russell community. He was actively involved with the Corps of Engineers in the development of Lake Wilson and served as president of the Lake Wilson Development Association from its early days to its commemoration in the late 60's. Seeing the need for the many weekend boaters and conflicts with their church responsibilities, he spearheaded a drive to build an all faiths chapel at the lake, name it Tatanka Lodge, at Lake Wilson State Park and dedicated it to his late father, B.M. (Bill) Kuhn. It is still in use today at Lake Wilson. After retirement, staying true to his love of lakes, fishing and boating, he traveled to every state in the United States, Mexico and Canada. During the summer months he served as a volunteer fish hatchery tour guide in Oregon returning to southern Texas for the winter months.

An additional hobby he was quite proud of was flying. Saving money from his paper route and without his parents' knowledge, he took flying lessons, learned to fly and soloed to his family's great surprise. He achieved an instrument rated pilots license with the FAA, piloted numerous fishing trips to Canada and flew the family -- as well as jewelers -- to many state and national jewelry conventions on buying trips.

On July 8, 1946, he married Alberta Denning at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Russell, Kansas. The union produced five children: William "Bill" Dennis Kuhn (Tian) of Olathe, grandchildren Bill II (Alison), Andrea, Brandon, Matt and Jacob, greatgrandchildren Carson, Dillon and Sedona. Mark Allen Kuhn (Mary Ann) of Wichita, grandchildren Danielle Holtzman (Vance) and Bryce and great-grandchildren Noah, Emily, Molly and Abby. Sari Ann Reynolds (Randy) and grandchildren Rachel Wentling (Trey), Amy and Bryan and great-grandchildren Jace and Tessa, Philip Matthew Kuhn of Austin, Texas, grandchildren Garren and Maloree, and Mary Alison Kuhn. Alberta preceded him in death on January 6, 1985. Gib married Katherine Smith in Hays, Kansas on July 19th, 1985. Katherine preceded him in death on February 4, 2003. Gib was also preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Marcel Anthony and his youngest daughter, Mary Alison.

The celebration of Gib's life will be held at 10:00 A.M. at St. John's Chapel, Via Christi Village on July 9, 2012 with Fr. Harvey Dinkel, presiding. Internment will be at Resurrection Cemetery and Mausoleum in Wichita Kansas at 4 P.M. with Monsignor John Gilsenan, presiding.

The visitation will be at Cline's Mortuary of Hays from 6 until 8 p.m. Sunday, July 8 with a Wake service at 7.

Memorials are to HaysMed Hospice and to St. John's Chapel, Via Christi Village and can be left in C/O Cline's Mortuary, P.O. Box 252, Hays, Kansas 67601.

Condolences may be sent to clinesmortuary@eagle.com.net

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