Kenneth J. Kier – Commander, United States Navy

From contemporary press reports:

Kenneth J. Kier, 80, a retired Navy Commander and former NASA official who lived in the Washington area from 1962 until moving to Florida in 1997, died February 10, 2002, at his home in Jacksonville, Florida, after a heart attack.

Commander Kier joined the Navy and became a naval aviator during World War II, flying from carriers. After the war, he held various flying posts before coming to Washington in 1962, when he was assigned to NASA.

He retired from active duty in 1965 and continued to work for the space agency until retiring altogether in 1982. During his NASA years, he worked both as a contract administration liaison officer to the Defense Department and then as head of NASA's small and minority business program.

Commander Kier, a former McLean resident, was a native of Connecticut. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland, and he received a master's degree in government administration from George Washington University. He also graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Navy Line School.

He was a past commodore of the Corinthian Yacht Club. He also served on the Virginia Boating Advisory Committee and was a member of St. John Catholic Church in McLean.

From NASA, he received several outstanding performance awards and the Apollo Achievement Award.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Jeanne, of Jacksonville; a son, Kenneth Jr., a Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer who is stationed in the Caribbean; five daughters, Kathryn Kier of Falls Church, Karen Obert of Arlington, Linda Hertler of Miami, Jane Sickles of Lake Worth, Florida, and Janice Bartlett of  Orlando; 11 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Kenneth J. Kier, Commander, United States Navy (retired), died Sunday, February 10, 2002. He was 80.

Commander Kier became a Naval Aviator, receiving his wings on November 18, 1942. He served in several Navy squadrons, including the famous Night All-Weather Fighter Squadron, and as Commanding Officer of Air Squadron VAW-12.

In 1962, Commander Kier joined the National Aeronautics and Space  Administration (NASA), while on active duty with the Navy.

Following Navy retirement in 1965, he became NASA's representative to the Department of Defense in the establishment and operations of NASA's Contract Administration Liaison Office with the Defense Contract Administration Services organization. He late served as the Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. He received several Outstanding Performance Awards, as well as the Apollo Achievement Award for his service to the nation as a member of the team which advanced the nation's capabilities in aeronautics and space.

He was born in Rocky Hill, Connecticut on November 18, 1921. He attended the Naval Line School in Monterey, California, and the Armed Forces Staff College. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters of Science degree from George Washington University. He was Commodore of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club Association, 1989-1990, and served on the Virginia State Boating Advisory Committee for over five years.

He is survived by his wife Jeanne of  57 years; his children, Kathryn, Karen, Linda, CWO Kenneth J. Kier, Jr., USCG, Jane and Janice Marie; 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery, February 26 at 1 p.m.

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