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A Kuhens Family Chronology
Donna Hennequin met Brian Kuhens on a 7th grade field trip to Paris Mountain State Park in the Spring of 1979. By Autumn of
the same year, Brian had mustered the courage to ask Donna out to the Monster Mansion at McAlister Square Mall on October
24th, exactly one week before Halloween. Within a month of their first date, the two Beck Middle School students had professed
their eternal love to one another and decided to marry. They were just 13 years old.
Brian lived far enough from Donna that he became a Riverside High School
student in Greer, SC, while Donna attended J.L. Mann High School in Greenville. With their future together a certainty, Brian
chose to transfer to J.L. Mann his senior year so they could spend as much time together as possible before attending separate
Donna was accepted to South Carolina College (the honors college of the University of South Carolina) while
Brian attended Spartanburg Methodist College. Through their freshman and sophomore years, they also attended Greenville Technical
College and Wofford College before they settled together at what was then called The University of South Carolina at Spartanburg.
In November of 1986, the couple discovered that if they became married, they would receive much of the financial aid required
to complete their degrees, and were wed in a small ceremony at Dove Tree on December 27th, 1986.
|Investing in the Future: Humble Beginnings
This was Donna's and Brian's second house, located in the Saxon/Una Mill Village on the West Side of Spartanburg.
Yes, as the second place they called home, this was an upgrade from their first house on Fairfax Street in the same
neighborhood. At the time, this Case Avenue house was so expensive for the young couple that they rented out one of the rooms
to another college student, and Brian rode a motorcycle year-round to work and to school to save from having to pay for car
insurance (let alone a car).
With Brian wishing to pursue a degree in Philosophy which was
not offered at USCS, they moved to Columbia, SC, in the Spring of 1987. Donna continued what would become a 15-year career
at Lowe's Home Center, and Brian started Sound Advice, a high-end stereo shop named after a column he wrote in his college
newspaper. The full-time work/part-time college formula proved a successful one on May 12th, 1990, when then President George
H. W. Bush (41) gave the commencement address to Brian and Donna's graduating class and the pair were loosed upon society
with degrees in Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.
Their short-lived plans to move to Alaska after graduation were abruptly
changed when Brian got cold feet about having cold feet. On the recommendation of one of Donna's friends, the couple made
a brief reconnaissance run to the small Appalachian mountain hamlet of Galax, Virginia. Enchanted by the manicured lawns,
friendly people and beautiful vistas, they packed their belongings and moved there within a week of their first visit.
At first, the move to Galax was less than propitious. Donna had to accept a demotion from management to sales in order
to secure a job at the local Lowe's store, and Brian fared much worse. With no one in the small city of 6,000 willing to employ
an eager young philosopher, Brian fell back on his still formative knowledge of business and with his Macintosh computer,
set out his own shingle as a graphic designer. However, after a few months on his own, he sold his design firm to Wordsprint,
a regional commercial printing company, and joined their sales force. Within a year and a half, he had been promoted a number
of times and found himself accepting company ownership and the responsibilities of the retiring president.
At Wordsprint, Brian flourished as a member of a management team which consistently won top honors and management awards
from every national and international industry association to which it belonged. Ever willing to accept a new challenge, however,
Brian tendered a tear-filled resignation in the Summer of 1995 to Bill Gilmer, his dear friend and Wordsprint partner, and
left behind the best job he ever had to attempt to overcome the 70% attrition rate of new stockbrokers at the prominent super-regional
firm of Wheat First Butcher Singer. Before he had finished his apprenticeship, Brian had become licensed by the N.A.S.D. with
a series 7, 63 and 65, had been featured in the company newsletter, and provided financial commentary on WYVE, WHHV and other
radio stations. After also becoming a licensed Life and Health insurance agent, Brian was hired by Wheat First's home office
in Richmond, VA, to double as an instructor to intermediate financial consultants. All the while, Donna continued to climb
the ladder at Lowe's to become an Assistant Store Manager.
Galax had been very good to the Kuhens Family and in return, Brian and Donna served their community in many ways. They
both became active in the local Rotary Club, with each of them serving the positions of Director, Vice-President and President.
Brian also went on to serve two terms as Assistant Governor for District 7570 of Rotary International. Brian served multiple
terms as President of a few investment clubs and became Social Secretary of Robins Hoods, a charity poker group made up of
local professionals. Donna and Brian also became involved in the 144-bed Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax, with Brian
ultimately serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the 880 employee, not-for-profit healthcare provider.
The fertile ground which had provided Brian and Donna such an enjoyable symbiosis was not enough to contain them once First
Union Bank acquired Brian's brokerage firm. Already disillusioned by the industry's greed and lack of transparency, the timing
was perfect for Brian and Donna to start drawing on the nest egg they had been building since high school and implement the
next objective within their long-term financial plan: a five-year hiatus to become full-time parents. Without hesitation,
they chose the Kuhens Family Farmstead in Illyria, Iowa, to begin the next chapter in their lives. In November of 1998, the
people of Fayette County, Iowa, elected Brian to a four-year term as Trustee for the Illyria Township. On September 5th of
1999, Sage Hennequin Kuhens became the 6th and last generation of Kuhenses to be born on the farmstead established by John
Kuhens right after the Civil War. No longer a functioning farm, it was converted to a Federal Pheasant Preserve in the early
1980's and was a delightful place to bring Sage into the world.
In the 4th year of the Kuhens Family Hiatus they moved once again, only this time to a home found for them by Sander Morrison,
the man who would become the father of Brian and Donna's first godchild. Forever indebted to him for having discovered the
gem that is Hidden Falls, the now enhanced Kuhens Family endeavors to see just how long they can stretch that "five-year
hiatus" begun in 1998.
Questions and Comments
|Click this photo to learn about the end of...
|...a proud era spanning six generations.
|The engraving on the back reads, "Love Forever, Brian"
|Our 25th Anniversary Splash!
Curriculum Vitæ via Links
Kuhens Farmstead Prospectus