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Robert "Bob" Kuhn '58 April 22, 2021 10:22 AM updated: April 22, 2021 10:39 AM

Robert J. (Bob) Kuhn
September 4, 1936 - August 25, 2020

Robert J. (Bob) Kuhn was born in Dallas, Texas to Harry and Leona Kuhn. He was raised in Paige, Texas where his father was a rancher & postmaster and his mother was a homemaker. Robert was the youngest of three children.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry & Leona Kuhn, sister Jean Wilson, and nephew David Kuhn.

Robert is survived by sons, John Kuhn and Stephen Kuhn, daughter Sharon Duggan and son-in-law Chris Duggan, grandchildren, Elizabeth Duggan '17, Clara Duggan '19, Robert Kuhn, Sarah Kuhn, and Alexzander Kuhn. Robert is also survived by his brother Charles Kuhn and wife Marilyn, nephews Bobby Limbocker and J. B. Kuhn, and great niece Lori Limbocker Miller.

Lastly, he is survived by the love of his life, Betty Kuhn. While they were no longer married, they remained caring, committed, friends.

Robert was a man of many talents, an attorney, rancher, actor, cowboy, Ironman, marathoner, triathlete, master storyteller, and had an unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit. Robert graduated from Texas A&M University in 1958. He went on to graduate in 1962 from "that trade school," The University of Texas School of Law, while working nights as a motel clerk and other odd jobs to support his wife and three children. After Law School he went to work in the Travis County District Attorney's office for Tom Blackwell.

Under the tutelage of Judge Blackwell, he joined the Texas Army National Guard Airborne in 1967, attaining the rank of Captain. Roy Minton frequently said, "Robert jumped out of perfectly good airplanes." In recent years Governor Rick Perry honored him with the symbolic rank of Admiral in the Texas State Navy. Robert was a proud Yellow Dog Democrat, campaigned and supported candidates, and believed in fairness and equality for all.

Robert was elected Justice of the Peace in Travis County in 1966 and later ran for Travis County Judge, losing by just 15 votes. Robert was a practicing member of the Travis County Bar Association for over 50 years and an exceptional trial lawyer. His trial successes led to him being recognized and named a member of the Million Dollar Forum. Throughout his career he was a law partner to some formidable legal minds including Rip Collins, Richard Alexander, Jay Doyle, Nick Bhakta, Phil Turner, and son, John C. Kuhn. Although they were never partners, Charles Burton and Bill Fitzgerald became confidants, consultants, political allies, best friends, and drinking buddies.

As a lawyer, he was mentor and teacher to countless young attorneys who began as his law clerks and went on to become exceptional lawyers and life-long friends. Among them were Richard Alexander, Jay Doyle, George Jennings, Tom Picard, Nick Bhakta, and Phil Turner. He, along with his law office, hosted an annual Christmas Party/fish fry to show their appreciation. The party was open to everyone and became legendary around the Travis County Courthouse. He worked hard and challenged attorneys, clerks, and secretaries to rise to the best of their capabilities, often joking, "nothing is impossible if you get someone else to do it." He would often be seen striding out of his office in a starched shirt, Levi's, boots, and his black cowboy hat, and NO ONE dared ask where he was going.

An adventurer at heart, Robert was always looking for the next challenge and enjoyed the outdoors, including family trips hiking, skiing, canoeing, and camping. Robert was a dedicated supporter of the Sierra Club and other conservation groups who sought to protect our environment. He ran in over 40 marathons and countless half-marathons. Along with his son John, he participated in Ironman Triathlons in Canada and New Zealand and the Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco.

With instruction from his old friend Harry Gourley, he attained his pilot's license at the age of 60. He flew his own plane on many weekends to his beach house in Port Aransas, where he ran on the beach and recharged his mind and body. He believed in physical fitness and expected no less from those around him. Robert brought (dragged) friends and family along on his fitness journey, running in over 23 Capital 10,000 races. Everyone was expected to participate. He followed up the competition with a party at the law office where he prepared barbeque and the beer was always plentiful. He often referred to his law practice as a "Running Club and Expert Legal Outfit". He hosted an annual trip to New Orleans to run in the Mardi Gras Marathon/half marathon where runners ran and after were rewarded with fun, food and drink. On the Sunday after the race, Robert held court at Two Jacques bar with a Dixie beer.

In the 1970's he took a risk to invest in a horror film called the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Subsequently, along with his partner Kim Henkel, they continued to propel the film into a mega franchise that endures today. In 1994, Robert personally produced, and Kim Henkel directed, "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" which was shot in and around Bastrop and central Texas and starred Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. In true Robert style, he called in family and friends to get the job done, especially depending on his son, Stephen, and nephews, Bobby and J.B., and brother Charles to pull it off. Robert not only invested in films, but did a little acting, including a role in "The Red Headed Stranger" with Willie Nelson.

Robert was a music lover and early supporter of Austin City Limits, where he treated friends and family to memorable concerts. Robert never met a stranger and was a loyal friend. He always said a man was lucky if he could count on one hand people to call on, day or night, no matter what the situation. He was one of those lucky men, he had handfuls. Thanks to his long time, dedicated legal assistant, bookkeeper, and righthand woman, Brenda Playfair, Robert was able to continue practicing a little longer as his health declined. We know he was grateful for her.

While we are saddened by his passing and will miss him dearly, he lived his life, each and every day, to the fullest. Today, the Paige Cowboy rode away Robert will be laid to rest in a small ceremony in Paige, Texas.

A celebration of life with plenty of storytelling and beer will take place when we're able to gather in the future.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to one of the causes near to Robert's heart. The Joe Biden/Kamala Harris Presidential Campaign, Travis County Democrats, Bastrop County Democrats, Sierra Club, or KUT.


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