Obituaries 08-25-2022

Allan Raymond Kueny

Of Charlestown

Allan Raymond Kueny, known for his wide-ranging creativity as well as his ever-present sense of     humor, died on the evening of July 13th with his wife Nan and his son Roger at this side.  Allan was born in North Muskegon, Michigan on October 5th, 1939.  Of French and German descent, his father was an executive at Continental Motors and his mother was a homemaker, a pianist and piano teacher.  He attended Ferris University as well as Boston University. He had an interesting approach to college, some of it due to his dyslexia which he learned to deal with successfully as his life progressed.  He considered BU to be a place where he could pursue things that appealed to him more than school itself, such as playing drums, sailing, crew, skiing, managing a ski shop, and coaching the Northeastern Women’s Ski Team.  The latter was mainly a way to obtain free lift tickets.  Allan was an excellent skier and perhaps that in part contributed to why throughout his life, he carved his own path.  He competed in FIS downhill races in New England for several seasons in the 60s.  His son Roger recounts that he was 21 before he could pass his father on the slopes. His wife could never pass him.

Following BU Allan briefly pursued playing drums but realized that it was not going to turn into a career.  One summer in the mid-1960s, he sold his drum kit for $300, and opened a retail store in Hyannis, Designers 3, with two Mass Art graduates.  His two partners made clothing, and in a pattern that would repeat itself throughout his life, he taught himself how to do leather work.  He became a sandal maker.  Following that summer, D3 moved to Harvard Square in Cambridge. Subsequently, Allan purchased a trove of used metal smithing equipment and he taught himself how to make jewelry which he sold in the store.  Eventually, Designer 3 turned into a successful wholesale jewelry business. By this time he employed six silversmiths who were trained ‘on the job’, and he was marketing handcrafted silver and gold jewelry to stores and boutiques throughout the country.

In 1969, he began to look for a new abode as well as a new workshop for Designers 3. As the story goes, he and his friend Werner came down the hill from Monument Square in Charlestown, and as he looked across the Training Field, the sign above the front door of what was then the McCardle Funeral Home, currently for sale, was blinking off and on. It was at this moment, watching the sign blink ‘McCardle, McCardle, McCardle’, that he fell in love with the house, a historic Federal mansion built in 1806 by a blacksmith, John Tapley. So, in January of 1970 he and the jewelry business moved to Charlestown. The house had great bones and had retained historic detail, but it needed everything. Again Allan learned a skill that he did not possess, historic restoration. Allan always felt that almost any skill could be learned with a practical, thoughtful approach as well as prodigious research into what one was trying to learn.  He may have disliked school but he never stopped learning. He also possessed an incredible design talent and a great three dimensional mind.  Allan was the kind of guy who could craft things that others had to go to the store and buy, or in some cases, things that couldn’t be bought in a store.  For example, he crafted missing parts of mantelpieces, millwork and such that no one would ever think were not original. He could build or fix practically anything.

The jewelry business continued to thrive for a time in Charlestown, but by the late 1970s the desire for handcrafted jewelry was eclipsed by slicker offerings, so Allan embarked on another new adventure.  As a result of working on his own property, he went into historic house restoration as a business, and he was highly proficient at it.  He acquired a vast knowledge of how old houses were put together and what needed to be done to bring them back to their full glory. He received five preservation awards from the Charlestown Preservation Society.  Most of the homes he restored are either on or near the Training Field (aka Winthrop Square). Two of the buildings that he restored were slated to be torn down, so he transported these buildings to new locations in Charlestown, a fascinating procedure that garnered more than a few onlookers on ‘moving  day’.

In the 80s and 90s he threw  real estate sales into the career mix for about 10 years off and on, but always came back to his beloved restoration and development.

Aside from his work, Allan continued to love skiing and boating, having boated with his family in Michigan when he was a kid. The family possessed an almost comical array of boats  which included a sailboat, a fishing boat, an iceboat, a rowboat, and maybe a few more.  He was an excellent and intuitive sailor and captained a boat to St. Thomas with a bunch of guys in 1978.  That earned him the nickname Captain Q, still remembered by many.  He also enjoyed tennis and travel.  He and his wife Nancy took at least 30 trips out the country, the most recent to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The accomplishments that Allan was most proud of and what he hoped he would be remembered for were his historic restoration and his jewelry designing.  He made a stunning contribution to his Charlestown neighborhood, where his skills and workmanship still shine brightly.

He was pre-deceased by his father Leo Kueny, his mother Virgina Klinkner and tragically, his siblings, Roger and Mary Jane Kueny.

Allan is survived by his wife and best buddy, Nan Hayford Kueny, his son Roger Cooke Kueny, his daughter-in-law Emily Lappe Kueny, his granddaughter Genevieve, his sister Virgina Kueny Richardson, his brother-in-law Robert Anson Hayford and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Services private.

If there is another world, he lives in bliss, if there is none, he made the best of this. (Robert Burns)

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