The Rev. Adam George Kegel, age 95, has gone home to be with the Lord and his beloved wife Mildred. He leaves a legacy of devoted service to God, the church, his family, and every community in which he lived. He was a force of nature, a highly intelligent leader, witty and creative, always meeting every challenge with a can-do spirit, conservative and fiercely independent, generous and giving, deeply concerned about the down-trodden and always standing up against bigotry. The world is a better place because of him, and he will be deeply missed.
Adam was born on Oct. 26, 1923, in Chicago, Ill., where his parents, Theresia and Philipp Kegel, had emigrated from Liebling, Hungary (now Romania). The family was of modest means, and Adam spoke only German until he started school. Upon graduating from high school in 1941, he attended Northwestern University, interrupting his studies to serve as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1947, he graduated from Northwestern with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. While working as an engineer for Westinghouse, he received a master’s in electrical engineering from University of Pittsburgh in 1949 and did doctoral work in mathematics and engineering.
On Valentine’s Day 1953, Adam married the love of his life, Mildred Volz, a registered nurse. They started their married life in Baltimore, where their four children were born and where Adam continued to work for Westinghouse. In the early days of television, Adam appeared on the Tonight Show with Steve Allen, promoting engineering careers. He was named the Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer by the national engineering society, Eta Kappa Nu, in 1954, and did graduate work in business management at Johns Hopkins University. In 1964, Adam became manager of engineering at Westinghouse’s Astroelectronics unit in Newbury Park, Calif. Five years later, Adam transferred back to Baltimore, where he designed television cameras for the Apollo space missions. In 1971, Adam was named director of Research and Development at the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C., a position he held until 1985.
Throughout these years, Adam was an active church volunteer, serving as president, finance chair, stewardship chair, evangelism chair, Sunday school teacher, and many other roles in Lutheran churches in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Oxnard, Calif. In 1985, he became a full-time lay minister, serving churches in Easton, Md., and Onancock, Va. After receiving a master’s degree in theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, he became an ordained Lutheran minister at the age of 70 and served churches in Cheriton, Va., and Cambridge, Md. He retired from the ministry at the age of 83 but remained active in the church until the day he died. In 2012, Adam and Mildred moved to Seaford, Del., where Adam devotedly took care of Mildred until her death in 2015. He was a cancer survivor and exemplified how to remain happy, engaged and vigorous in your 90s, by diligently swimming and exercising, being active in his church, attending concerts, classes and events every chance he got, daily working his beloved Sudoku and crossword puzzles, designing personal greeting cards for birthdays and holidays for a host of friends and relatives, and enjoying travels to New Orleans, San Diego, Syracuse, and the Caribbean.
He will be dearly missed by his brother Philipp of Syracuse; his children David (Valerie) of LaGrange, Ga., Deborah (Harold) of San Diego, Martha (Rodney) of New Orleans; and Mary of Silver Spring, Md.; his granddaughters Sarah and Rosa; six nieces and nephews; and a host of friends and relatives across the U.S. and Canada. Visitation is at 2:00 p.m. and the funeral service at 3:00 p.m. on Sat., March 2, Christ Lutheran Church, 315 N. Shipley St., Seaford DE 19973, (302) 629-9755. Burial in Odd Fellows Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Christ Lutheran Church Building Fund.