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Kumpf, John Edward

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August 22, 1929 - January 9, 2020

Kumpf, John Edward

John Edward Kumpf, retired E-Systems (acquired by Raytheon in 1996) Vice President of Corporate Communications, retired US Air Force pilot and avid golfer, passed away January 9, 2020.  Kumpf lived an exciting, happy, noble, blessed, successful, full life enhanced by a gentle sense of humor, a loving family and many friends. Kumpf was fortunate to be involved in the pioneering days of jet aviation and early development of the computer and its applications. Born during the Great Depression in Chicago, IL on August 22, 1929, as a twin son of Ruth Elizabeth (Westphal), also a twin, and John Lyle Kumpf, he grew up in Minneapolis, MN. He attended the University of Minnesota for two years before entering pilot training with the USAF in 1950 at Randolph AFB, San Antonio, TX and Craig AFB, Selma, AL where he flew the F-51, along with several other first operational jets. As a fighter pilot in the Korean War, he flew 100 missions in the F-86, the first supersonic jet. Kumpf was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters and various other awards and medals. After serving as an instructor, Kumpf was honorably discharged. He then joined the US Air Force Reserve and returned to the University of Minnesota, graduating with a BS in Economics in 1956. In 1974, Kumpf also graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He retired from the USAF Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Kumpf’s business career began with Remington Rand Univac in St. Paul, MN. He left Univac in 1972 as the Director of Public Relations to join E-Systems, a world leader in developing advanced intelligence and reconnaissance systems, from which he retired in 1996. During his career, he served for two years as Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association Communications Council, Chairman of the Electronic Industries Association Public Affairs Council, past President of the Dallas chapter of the Air Force Association, as well as remaining active in several other business-related organizations. He served as Trustee of the Airmen’s Nantambu Memorial Foundation, which raised money to build a school for the children of natives who helped save the lives of downed airmen during World War II, in the jungle of New Guinea. He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen, the Daedalians and past member on the board of Frontiers of Flight Museum.  He was an avid, better than average, obsessed golfer, who was an active member of the Bent Tree Country Club.

He is survived by sons Stephen Paul, Rosemount, MN and Thomas John Kumpf, Dallas, TX, stepchildren; Gregory Richard Hatch, Joshua, TX and Sarah Jane Kreiner, Lewisville, TX, ten grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and sister Mary Bloomquist Emerson, Woodbury, MN.

Memorial services will be held at the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX on Friday, January 24, 2020 at 11:00 AM.

Kumpf raised money for the inception of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, so we ask in lieu of flowers, please send donations directly to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, TX in loving memory of John Kumpf.

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Reed Edstrom

January 23, 2020 9:01AM

To the entire Kumpf family, I am deeply sad to learn of John's passing. I have known your Aunt Mary since Kindergarten and lived a couple houses from the beautiful and talented Kumpf family. I remember reading about the "Flying Kumpf Twins" in the Mpls paper during the Korean War and know they made Ruth and Jack proud. The story about John flying low to see the cute girls in the convertible, reminded me of when he buzzed his parent's home in the early 50's. He came in just over the tree tops and then went straight up. It scared me. When I asked my dad what that was, he calmly said "I think it's one of the Kumpf boys". When I related that story to Mary a couple years ago, I could tell it was a family secret and wasn't discussed much in the family. I wrote to John to thank him for his service and ask about the "buzzing" incident. He replied through Mary that "it's a long story".
He lived an exciting and very successful life and left a wonderful family. I'm sure he will be "buzzing you" for years to come.


Harold Hansen (Swede)

January 22, 2020 11:47AM

John & I were friends since Home Room in High School back in Minneapolis. He was an awfully good friend and will be sorely missed. Deepest condolences go out to his family.


Julie Kumpf Armstrong

January 21, 2020 4:19PM

My heart's torn up Uncle John, Will miss ur stories!! Being Dads identical twin was always kinda hard on me so much alike. I'm so very glad your with him
& them all! wow Lord Got a great group up there that's for sure. Proud to be Kumpf for sure!!❤️. you all will be so very loved n missed. Proud of y'all for sure!!! The 3 sets of twins was a legacy includinding Grandma, n pray maybe our kid can carry out someday a tradition of twins in our family. You were so loved n glad your with Aunt Mary I Know she is happy. See you n everyone one day again. ❤️😇🙏 Fly with the Angels like Dad love always Jewels (ur nickname for me always)


Robert Cox

January 20, 2020 11:41PM

John E Kumpf was my uncle. Growing up, and in my adult years, he was a figure bigger than life to me. Like a Rock Star. I loved hearing the stories he would tell about his life and his exploits. Robert Beelman, thank you for sharing those great memories. I agree, they describe my uncle very well. My wife, daughter and I send all our love to Steve and Tom. May your dad rest in peace.


Robert Beelman

January 20, 2020 7:41PM

John and I were friends, both at Univac and in the 96th TAS where I was a Navigator. I worked with him at Univac from 1966 until he left for E Systems.
He was the best of the best in both places. Just a couple of many memories that somehow describe John. We were flying in a C-119 very low (VERY LOW) from Northeast to Southwest over Lake Mille Lac. He saw a convertible car with a couple of girls near the edge of the Lake. With a slight turn he pulled up right over them. Now that was fun. We were close enough they got the number off the nose and turned us in to the FAA.
When a Captain I was assigned the extra job of Mission Planning on the 934th Battle Staff. I had a small very secure room to work in. One day there was a knock on the door. It was John. “Bob, you have been assigned to report to me. I assume you will take very good care of me.” I said: “Of course.” I assumed I would not see him again in that capacity and I did not. Complete trust.
John will be greatly missed. Robert Beelman


Chris Cox

January 19, 2020 11:51PM

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

Blue sky’s and tailwinds Uncle John.


John A. Perlich

January 17, 2020 5:54PM

Best to you Steve and Tom. Peace to all


PETER MARINO

January 17, 2020 3:15PM

John was a good friend with a kind heart. My sincere sympathy goes out to his family.


Carol ray

January 17, 2020 10:41AM

Love to the Kumpf family. RIP.