Richard W. Bluhm, 96, W2KXD, a Chester resident for more than a half-century, died Sunday, July 19, 2020, after a short illness. He was born Nov. 15, 1923, in Summit, the fifth child of Herman W. and Frances M. (Ryszczynski) Bluhm of Millburn.
From an early age Richard was fascinated by the amazing new technology of radio, building his own crystal set and earning his amateur radio license in his teens. When he was 14, he used his radio to help the emergency effort during the 1938 hurricane that devastated the East Coast. He graduated from Millburn High School with the Class of 1940. One of his best radio friends, Henry Elwell, introduced Richard to his little sister, Hilda, and the resulting romance led to wedding bells on Dec. 3, 1944, a marriage that would last almost 62 years.
Richard served in the military intelligence wing of the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, decoding encrypted enemy messages in support of our troops. Returning to civilian life in July 1946, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from New York University, taking classes at night while supporting his young family. He worked in the aerospace division of Bendix Corp., designing jet guidance systems and components for the race to the moon, and later at ADT, retiring in 1988. He maintained his connection to ham radio throughout his life, reaching out to the world through his basement array and the tower he built on the hill.
He was a lover of good music, especially Count Basie, Benny Goodman and other big bands. For many years he and Hilda vacationed with their three sons at Lake Champlain in Vermont for a week or more, where they would sit on the cabin porch devouring mystery and science fiction novels. He served for many years as treasurer of Ironia Free Methodist Church.
Richard is survived by his three sons, Charles (Connie) Bluhm of Cinnaminson, Warren (C.J. Townsend) Bluhm of Wisconsin, and Bruce Bluhm of Chester; two granddaughters, Beth and Johanna; his stepmother, Mabel Bluhm, and half-brother William (Edna Volz) Bluhm; nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Hilda; three sisters, Clara, Elsa, and Barbara; one brother, Frank; half-sister, Janet Bluhm; and Hilda’s parents, Henry G. Elwell Sr. and Hilda J. Elwell, and siblings, Henry and Ruth.
Due to COVID-19 concerns no funeral service is planned. A celebration of life will be held at a future date. Cochran Funeral Home, Hackettstown, is assisting the family.
The family thanks Merdella Brown, who for more than a year cared for Dad and brightened up his days with her upbeat attitude, singing and her legendary scrambled egg breakfasts, which Dad said were the finest he had ever tasted.