Kenneth A. Bohr
Kenneth Alden Bohr was born on June 21, 1919 in Boston to Henry B. Bohr and Miriam Alden Niver Bohr. He was married on June 8, 1946 to Gwyneth Griffin Bohr, to whom he was married for 63 years until her death in 2009.
In Ken’s words, “I’ve had good life, a wild life.” The following passage from a favorite author, Ernest Hemingway, was kept on Ken’s desk and reflects the way he lived his adventurous life:
“The great thing is to last and to get your work done and see and hear and learn and understand; and write when there is something that you know.” – Death in the Afternoon
Ken and his family lived in a variety of places during his youth, including southern Ohio, the Boston area, and southern Ontario. He and his brother Richard spend many summers at camps in New Hampshire, Maine and Ontario as campers and later as counselors in New Hampshire and Michigan. In addition, Ken and Richard seldom missed a chance to explore the woods near home. Canoeing in Southern Ohio rivers was fun for the brothers, but only a stepping stone to the challenging white water of Maine’s East Branch of the Penobscot River, the year Ken graduated from college in 1941. These tastes of Maine brought him back after his retirement many years later.
Ken attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a scholarship, studying metallurgical engineering and graduating in 1941. He was a member of the Reserved Officer Training Corps and when WWII began, Ken was called to active duty, given additional training in the US and assigned Company Commander of an ordnance company that maintained small arms. They were sent to England and then to Europe until the European Campaign was over. He achieved the rank of Captain. Returning to the US he went back to MIT to continue his education in Economics working toward a PhD. When an opportunity came to apply his training, he accepted a position with the World Bank in Washington, D.C.
During the 1960s Ken took the opportunity to move his family to New Delhi, India while his daughters were in high school and college. These were the most memorable years of his career and led to a love of India that prompted the family to think of it as their second home. The experience encouraged their sense of adventure and interest in world cultures. Ken retired from the World Bank in 1981.
Ken shared his love of the outdoors with his three daughters. He and Gwyneth took the family camping every summer while the girls were growing up. Camping in Kashmir while the family lived in India was especially memorable. On Gwyneth and Ken’s 50th wedding anniversary they requested a family camping trip, thus beginning a tradition of an annual family reunion on the shores of Lower Richardson Lake in Maine -- first camping at Paugus Point and later gathering at the Lakewood Camps. His love of protecting land came from many outdoor experiences throughout Ken’s life.
Ken was a supportive husband to his wife, Gwyneth, who became one the first women Episcopal priests in 1979, as she worked as an interim minister in different churches, first in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and then in Maine.
Ken loved his retirement years, which afforded him time to pursue his many hobbies, including woodworking, gardening, hiking, camping, canoeing, reading, and writing, as well as his many volunteer pursuits.
Ken loved Bethel, where he and Gwyneth owned a home since 1982. Ken was one of the founders of the Mahoosuc Land Trust in 1989 and he served as both president and secretary in the early years. On the occasion of Ken’s 90th birthday, the Land Trust planted a tree in his honor on the Gateway Preserve. Ken served on the Bethel Comprehensive Plan Committee and had received awards from the Bethel Chamber of Commerce and the Mahoosuc Land Trust.
A life-long learner, Ken took courses at NTL and Senior College and especially enjoyed a memoir class taught by Gwyneth. He continued with the local memoir group, writing and revising over many years. “I’m doing this for the children and grandchildren,” Ken often commented. He always loved reading and discussing poetry and fiction, and he got his daughters off to an early start by reading to them aloud from such favorites as Doctor Dolittle and Charlotte’s Web. The education of all children was important to Ken and he was there to lend a hand, whether tutoring high school students at Telstar or reading to little ones at Ingleside Childcare Center.
Their last canoe trip, while in their 80s, took Ken and Gwyneth to the West Branch of the Penobscot with Maine Explorations, where they followed parts of the route which Ken and his brother Richard had navigated in their youth. His grand finale was a brief paddle on Songo Pond to celebrate his 90th birthday, further confirming a favorite passage from The Wind in the Willows, “There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
Ken was a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bridgton as well as the West Parish Congregational/UCC Church and the monthly Episcopal House Church in Bethel. The latter was led by Gwyneth until a few months before her death in 2009.
Ken is survived by his brother, Richard Henry Bohr; three daughters, Gretchen Bohr Courage, Katherine Alden Bohr and Sarah Harriet Bohr; son-in-law, Eric Goldberg; former sons-in-law, Richard Arthur Courage and John Nickolas Alexander, Jr.; grandchildren, Emilie Louisa Courage, Meredith Alden Alexander, Stephen Alden Courage, and Noah Alden Goldberg-Bohr; sisters in-law, Georgette B. Bohr and Dorothy T. Griffin; niece, Georgia Griffin Peterson and nephew, Bryant Wade Griffin III; and six great-nieces and great-nephews.
Ken’s burial service was held on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. at the Riverside Cemetery in Bethel and the memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24, ,at noon at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bridgton. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Mahoosuc Land Trust, P.O. Box 981, Bethel, Maine.