39th Bomb Group (VH)


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1st Lt Leonard A." Len" Kuther

The following is an excerpt from an obituary for Len Kuther, provided by Thomas Mayfield, Tail Gunner, P-43

Leonard A. (Len) Kuther, 83 died Monday, August 25, 2003 at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston with his immediate family present.

Len, the oldest child of nine born Feb. 9, 1920, to Joseph and Antoinette Weis Kuther.

Len attended school in Ferdinand. After graduation he attended the University of Idaho.

On Nov. 8, 1940, along with three good friends he joined the Air Force at Fort Louis, Wash. He served nine years in active duty. After Fort Louis he went to Felts Field in Spokane and then to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was sent to Salina, Kan., after graduation where he was assigned to a B-17 crew and trained to go overseas. Len was grounded because he became ill on the final day of training before they were to go overseas. During this last training the plane went down and the entire crew was lost. He was then sent to Mt. Home Air Force Base in Idaho where he was an instructor. He later decided to become a bombardier and joined a B-29 crew in Salina, Kan. This unit was sent to Guam where the crew flew 21 missions over Tokyo during WW II. The crew became livelong friends. In his diary he wrote that their missions would last anywhere from 14 to 21 hours. Len was very proud that he went through every rank from Private to Captain.

After the war ended, he was sent to Spokane where he became reacquainted with Doris Kinzer, who became the love of his life. They were married May 6, 1946 in Ferdinand. Throughout his service career, they were stationed in Texas, Florida, Colorado and Washington. They finally settled in Cottonwood in 1949. While in the service, Len received training in photography and as a result was able to open Len’s Studio. Later, Len purchased the Martzen Insurance Agency and the built the Kuther Building in 1956. It housed a bowling alley, apartments and business offices. Later Central Idaho Insurance Agency opened with Len, Virg Schmidt and Boots Mader selling insurance and real estate until Len’s retirement.

Len and other community members were instrumental in planning St. Gertrude’s Academy Days, developing the Cottonwood ski course and the Terrace subdivision. He was a life member of the Elks, Cottonwood Lions Club and the Knights of Columbus. Because of his interest and support of St. Gertrude’s Academy, Len was asked to coach basketball and willingly accepted. He was on the board of directors for Grangeville Country Club as well as the Pacific Seniors Golf Association for Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Len was awarded the Mutual Agent of Idaho awarded 1968. He also was on the Board of Realtors and received the Realtor of the Year award in 1973.

Len enjoyed all sports, especially golf and bowling. He was an avid fan of the Mariners and Seahawks. He loved to play poker, bridge and “family” games. Family gatherings were always an important part of his life. He was the patriarch of his family and was able to attend the Kuther Family reunion this past June.

Len was known to be a gentle man and a true “gentleman.” He was a kind, patient and loving person. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Len and Doris had 7 children and 14 grandchildren.

Click here to read Kuther's mission diary

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Source: Obit for Leonard A. Kuther provided by Thomas Mayfield, P-43, TG