In Memoriam: 1940s
Alden Robert “Bob” Kuhlthau (Grad ’44, ’48 CM) of Charlottesville died Feb. 29, 2020. After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics from Wake Forest University and a doctorate from UVA, he served as assistant professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire. In 1951, he returned to the University, working in both the Physics Department and in the School of Engineering and Applied Science until his retirement in 1986. Within the engineering school, he served in many capacities, including as chair of the Department of Engineering Science and Systems, director of the research laboratories, and associate dean for graduate studies. He also served as the University’s associate provost for research. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Sigma Pi Sigma, the Raven Society, and the Thomas Jefferson Society of Alumni. Mr. Kuhlthau was elected to be the first president of the Universities Space Research Association, which supported NASA’s space research program, and he later served on its board of trustees. He also served on the Naval Studies Board of the National Research Council. In his free time, he was a scoutmaster for his church’s Boy Scouts troop. He also loved hiking in the Blue Ridge and was an avid gardener and skilled woodworker. In retirement, Mr. Kuhlthau pursued his long-standing interest in Charlottesville-Albemarle County history, serving as president of the Albemarle County Historical Society. His research on the history of the Farmington Country Club, including the ownership and development of the Farmington property since Colonial times, was used for the club’s 2003 anniversary book. His survivors include sons R. Peyton Kuhlthau (Col ’67 CM) and Richard H. Kuhlthau (Grad ’79 CM); three grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Basil J. “Buzz” Austin (Col ’49 CM) of York, Pennsylvania, died Jan. 10, 2021. He was a member of the band at UVA before his studies were interrupted by World War II. He served in the U.S. Army and received a Victory Medal. He reenlisted even as he returned to UVA to finish his education and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1950. After college and military service, Mr. Austin became a certified public accountant and practiced for many years in Virginia, where he met his wife, Pearl. In retirement, he enjoyed doing all types of puzzles, watching UVA sports and his New York Yankees, and attending UVA football and basketball games. A few years after his wife predeceased him, he moved to York, Pennsylvania, to be near his daughter, Sara, with whom he was very close. In York, he learned how to use GPS, started going to the gym and reconnected with his younger sister, Myrna. Survivors include his daughter and sister.
Lawrence Bell Laurent (Col ’49 CM) of Alexandria, Virginia, died Aug. 1, 2020. He served in the U.S. Navy as a radioman in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, he attended UVA, where he joined Theta Chi and worked as sports editor for College Topics and The Daily Progress. After briefly working at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, he went to work for The Washington Post. Hired as a sports reporter, he was appointed by Post publisher Phil Graham as the paper’s first TV critic in 1953. After leaving The Post in 1982, Mr. Laurent was vice president and director of communication for the Association of Independent Television Stations. A popular writer, speaker and professor, he received the Distinguished Teacher Award from American University and the President’s Medal from George Washington University, where his professional papers are available for research. He was also elected to the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. Among numerous publications, Mr. Laurent contributed to The Eighth Art, edited Newton N. Minow’s Equal Time: The Private Broadcaster and the Public Interest and was editor and chairman of the editorial board of the Television Quarterly. For many decades after its establishment in 1974, Mr. Laurent was on the panel of judges for the Humanitas Prize, a prestigious prize in television. He was predeceased by his wife, Margaret, and his son Richard Laurent (Col ’75, Grad ’77). Survivors include three children, Arthur, Margaret and Elizabeth; four grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.