John Powell Kidner – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force

From a contemporary press report:

John Powell Kidner, 77, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who wrote books about government bureaucracy and was a newspaper columnist, died of cancer July 30, 2001, at his home in Keyser, West Virginia. He had moved back to his home town from Arlington in April.

Colonel Kidner was a former turret gunner and a military engineer who had worked on the Atlas missile program. He enlisted at the start of World War II and served with the Army Air Forces in Europe. In 1944, while on his 14th mission, his B-17 “Flying Fortress” was shot down over Czechoslovakia. Taken prisoner, he was force-marched with 10,000 other POWs across Germany. He was liberated by the British near Hamburg.

Colonel Kidner served in Vietnam before his retirement in 1970. After that, he was a budget analyst with the Drug Enforcement Administration for 10 years.

He wrote five books, mostly about government red tape. He appeared twice on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson after publication of “The Kidner Report.” He also wrote “Alice in Blunderland” with columnist Jack Anderson and “Crimaldi: Contract Killer,” about Mafia hit man Charles “Chuckie” Crimaldi.

Colonel Kidner attended Potomac State University in West Virginia and graduated from St. Louis University. He received a master's degree in engineering administration from Purdue University.

After he left the military, he wrote a column from Washington for the Keyser News Tribune. He was named correspondent of the year last year by the West Virginia Press Association.

His military honors included the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and he received the Potomac State University Achievement Award.

He was a member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Arlington, the National Press Club, the Army & Navy Club and the Fort Myer Officers Club.

His first wife, Alexa Smith Kidner, died in 1993; their son David Geoffrey Kidner died in 1966.

Survivors include his wife, Muriel Hesse Kidner of Keyser; a son from his first marriage, John Craig Kidner of Arlington; four stepchildren, Sharon McNemara of Fort Myers, Fla., Carolyn Thom of Oakland, W.Va., and Nancy Marshall and Hobart Hesse, both of Keyser; a sister; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.


On Monday, July 30, 2001, of Arlington, VA. Husband of Muriel Hesse Kidner and the late Alexa Christine Kidner; father of John Craig (Maureen) Kidner and brother of Mary Virginia Holleran. Services will be held on Monday, August 13, 5 p.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 4000 Lorcom Ln., Arlington, VA. Graveside services with full military honors on Tuesday, August 14, 9 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery.

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