In memoriam: Herbert H. Bushong and Robert H. Nienkirk

Herbert H. Bushong, 1916–2015

FFRF Life Member Herbert Harry Bushong, 98, San Antonio, died Oct. 19, 2015. He was born in Catlettsburg, Ky., to John and Laura Bushong and was one of 10 children. In 1940 he married Sally Boggs. He joined the Army Air Corps at the start of World War II and was trained as a radar-jamming technician, receiving numerous service decorations, including the Air Medal and four battle stars.

He earned a B.S. in English from Ohio University and was certified to teach. After earning a master’s from the University of Kentucky, he continued to teach high school English. During their 68-year marriage, he and Sally lived throughout the U.S. and in Germany. He was an avid tennis player, continuing to play into his 90s.

Sally preceded him in death in 2008. Survivors include his children: Perry, Bonnie, Cheryl, Sonya, Angela and John, 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He was buried beside his wife in a family plot in the Appalachians of eastern Kentucky.

Herbert very generously sponsored FFRF’s high school essay contest in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends.

Robert H. Nienkirk, 1927–2015

Robert Henry Nienkirk died June 20, 2015, in St. Louis Park, Minn., after an extended illness. He was born Dec. 18, 1927, in Woodstock, Minn. He joined the Navy as soon as he was of age and was proud of his service. He was against the Vietnam War and became a peace activist, twice going to the Paris Peace Talks in 1970 and 1971 with other activists.

Bob planned to be a farmer, but a car accident left him with severe injuries, so he became a private investigator for an insurance firm, where he worked until 1964. He then moved to Minneapolis, where he became an independent investigator.

Bob was a lifelong atheist and co-founded Friends Free of Theism, which led to him being a co-founder of Minnesota Atheists in 1991. He and his wife Marilyn have been FFRF members since 1985.

“I was never indoctrinated into any supernatural or metaphysical religion,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for people who are able to break away from that early indoctrination.”

Survivors include three sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Sincerest condolences to Marilyn, his wife of 50 years, and to all who knew Bob.

Freedom From Religion Foundation