- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006

John H. Kuck, an electrical engineer and inventor, died May 28 of pneumonia at Heron Point of Chestertown, a retirement community in Chestertown, Md. He was 89.

Mr. Kuck was born June 16, 1916, in Hastings-on-the-Hudson, N.Y. He spent his childhood in Kuckville, N.Y., a hamlet on the shores of Lake Ontario named after his great-great-grandfather, the Rev. George Kuck.

Mr. Kuck studied at Hamilton College in New York and at the City College of New York, and graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

After obtaining his master’s degree, Mr. Kuck worked for 42 years at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel.

While there, he helped design the Radio Proximity Fuze, a device that allows an explosive to detonate automatically once it nears its target. It helped stop the enemy advance at the Battle of the Bulge, saved lives and helped shorten World War II.

For his work, Mr. Kuck received the Army-Navy Certificate of Appreciation.

He worked on defense electronics problems in radar guidance systems after the war and held 25 patents. At one point, he had more patents to his name than any other scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory.

Mr. Kuck’s achievements were made more remarkable because he had a lifelong visual impairment. His low vision inspired him to build a closed-circuit reading aid and an audio-filing system for the blind.

Mr. Kuck lived in Silver Spring for more than 45 years. In his later years, he enjoyed designing economic computer models to improve the U.S. economy.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Phoebe Hargy Kuck of Chestertown; son George Anson Kuck of Chestertown; daughter Sharon Natoli of Greenbelt; and four grandchildren.

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