Richard B. Kehl, Colonel, United States Air Force, retired, age 87, passed away on Aug. 1, 2023, in Centerville, Ohio. Predeceased by his parents, Delbert and Alberta Kehl of Woodworth, Ohio, he is survived by his loving wife Judith, children Wendy (Al) and Mark (Cathy), grandsons Daniel and David, sister Linda, nephew and godson Richard, and brother-in-law Timothy. Col. Kehl graduated from Boardman High School, earned a Bachelor of Science from Ohio University, a Master of Science from the University of Southern California and a certificate from the Air Command and Staff College.
Col. Kehl had an illustrious 30-year career in the US Air Force. His first operational assignment was with the 15th Fighter Group at Niagara Falls. He served overseas at the maritime demarcation line between North and South Korea where he had multiservice responsibilities. Returning to the U.S., he was lead project engineer for missile and space propulsion development at Edwards AFB. He next served as Executive Officer and Special Assistant to the Director of Laboratories, Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB and at USAF Headquarters, Pentagon, for the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development. As Director of Multinational Programs for the F-16 System Program Office, Wright-Patterson AFB, he managed foreign acquisition and military sales programs of the USAF’s top fighter. At Air Force Systems Command Space Division, Los Angeles, as Director of the Department of Defense Space Test Program, he was the Payload Mission Director for several Space Shuttle flights. Col. Kehl’s final assignment was Director of Sensor Data at the Foreign Technology Division, Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton.
Col. Kehl’s military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with one Silver and one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Training Ribbon, Missile Badge and Space Badge.
He was a talented musician, playing French horn with the Ohio University Marching Band, guitar and banjo. His clear tenor voice graced military chapel choirs, a barbershop quartet and family time around the piano. Inheriting the industrial arts skills of his father, a teacher at Princeton Junior High School in Youngstown, he was a master of intricate folk-art woodcarving and an aficionado of antique model tools and trains.
Col. Kehl attended the First United Methodist Church of Springboro and was a member of the National Model Railroad Association, the Kettering Woodcarvers, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center Alumni Association, the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Ohio University ROTC Alumni Association. He was a dedicated volunteer at the Wright-Patterson AFB Medical Center, the Wright B Flyer Inc. and is remembered on the Wall of Honor at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Most importantly, Richard was a devoted family man, a dedicated friend and a true patriot. In lieu of flowers his family suggests donations be made to the Honor Flight Network at Honor Flight, Box L-4016, Columbus, OH 43260-4016 or on-line at https://honorflight.org/donations/. Visitation will be held at the Hughes-Moquin Funeral Home, 168 Morris Ave., Athens, Ohio on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by a funeral service with Pastor Chad Huebner officiating. Interment to follow at Alexander Cemetery, 4181 Hebbardsville Rd., Athens, Ohio where military honors will be conducted by the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard, Athens American Legion Post 21 and Albany VFW Post 9893. You may leave a message of sympathy or sign the online guestbook at the funeral home website, www.hughesmoquinfuneralhome.com.