Leo B. Kuehl, 104, formerly of Glenside and Ambler, a gentle family man who lived a life of service to others, died Saturday, April 24, at Rydal Park retirement community after complications from a fall.
“Everything he did was for other people,” said his granddaughter Megan Sweeney. “Very rarely did he ever take time to do anything for himself.”
“He would talk about how his favorite word was integrity, and that was how he lived his life,” Sweeney said. “He just grew up with a sense of community and giving back. That was his way.”
Born in Westbrook, Minn., the second of five children, Mr. Kuehl’s father, John, was a fire chief and his mother, Lily, was active in local schools and politics. Mr. Kuehl spent much of his boyhood working on an uncle’s farm in Wausau, Neb.
He graduated high school near the top of his class and went to work for the Honeywell Corp. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and proudly served with the 4th Marine Air Wing in the Pacific, his granddaughter said.
Afterward, he returned to Honeywell and learned the company had opened a new office in the Philadelphia area. He relocated to Glenside and worked as a supervisor of cost accounting at Honeywell for the next 47 years. It was there that he met his wife, Betty. They were married 57 years when she died in 2010.
Mr. Kuehl was always a firm believer in the importance of education. Quiet and unassuming, Sweeney said he encouraged her and her friends to pursue their dreams — and do the work to achieve them.
“He encouraged us to find what we were passionate about and get as educated as we could,” she said.
Aware of the example he was setting and wanting to better himself, Mr. Kuehl took business classes at Temple University at night while working full-time at Honeywell for 15 years until he earned enough credits for a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Not only that, said Sweeney, he graduated magna cum laude and was named a President’s Scholar for earning the highest grade-point average in the business school.
Sweeney said she learned of the honors a few years ago when she found an article about her grandfather’s achievements in a Honeywell company newsletter.
“He never boasted about that,” she said.
Mr. Kuehl was also a dedicated volunteer with the Glenside Fire Company for 65 years, serving several posts including head engineer, treasurer, head of finance, and member of the board of directors. Through his knowledge of accounting, he helped introduce fiscal improvements that allowed the company to develop long-term plans for the purchase of updated equipment and trucks — an accomplishment of which he was quite proud, his granddaughter said.
In his later years, Mr. Kuehl cared for his wife as she battled colon cancer. When he moved to Rydal Park from their Ambler home after her death, he volunteered as a companion to hospice patients in their homes in his wife’s memory.
He also served on several committees at Rydal Park and led an effort to switch to a more sustainable, cost-saving lightbulb at the retirement community.
A loving patriarch, Mr. Kuehl was always concerned about his family and the values he instilled in them.
“We talked every day about everything,” his granddaughter said. “He would always remind me: ‘Megan, what is my favorite word?’ ‘Integrity, Pop.’ ”
“He always wanted to make sure he was modeling integrity for us,” she said.
In addition to his granddaughter, Mr. Kuehl is survived by daughters Lizanne Newmiller and Marybeth Kuehl; one other granddaughter; one great-granddaughter; and many other family members.
A funeral service will be held at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, June 8, at Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 830 Highland Rd., Newtown, Pa. 18940.
Donations in Mr. Kuehl’s memory may be made to the Glenside Fire Company, 210 W. Glenside Ave., Glenside, Pa. 19038.