OBITUARY – ARTHUR H. KESTEN
Arthur H. (Art) Kesten, 92, who founded ARMY AVIATION Magazine in 1953 with his wife, Dotty, and the Army Aviation Association of America, (AAAA) in 1957, passed away on Saturday, September 6, 2014. He resided in Westport, CT for almost 60 years.
Inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame along with Dotty in 1975, Art served as Executive Vice President of the AAAA from the time of the Association's founding until his retirement in 1989.
Art joined the United States Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Cornell University as a Cadet in 1942 and became editor of the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. His college education was interrupted in 1943 by active military service in WWII. Art completed pilot training - for light, single-engine, fixed-wing aircraft such as the Piper Cub - at the U.S. Army Flight Training School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1945 and received orders to join the 11th Airborne Division in the Philippines for the anticipated invasion of Japan. He then served as a member of the United States Occupation Forces in Japan from 1945 to 1948 and earned his jump wings while deployed.
Art and Dotty were engaged to be married when he was deployed to the Pacific. They were married by proxy in 1946 – so that she could join him in Japan.
Art was discharged from active duty in 1948, and transferred to U.S. Army Reserve where he served as a pilot stationed at the Army Airfield located on Governor's Island off the tip of lower Manhattan.
After returning to the U.S. in 1948 Art received a BA from Cornell in 1949 and started utilizing his journalism skills to publish a small mimeographed newsletter for Army pilots serving in the First Army region in the Northeast. This simple regional newsletter, which was started as an after-work, at-home hobby, grew into a significant monthly publication that was re-named "ARMY AVIATION Magazine" in 1953. Moving from New York City to Westport, Connecticut in 1955, he quit his "day job" so that he and Dotty could devote their full time to making ARMY AVIATION Magazine into a profitable, self-supporting business and AAAA into the most dynamic and successful Combat Arms Branch association in the U.S. Army today with over 20,000 Active Duty, National Guard, and U. S. Army Reserve Soldier members.
In 1963, their desire to continue to give back gave rise to a new charity, the AAAA Scholarship Foundation Inc. that now awards over $450,000 every year to Soldiers and their families for college education.
Along with Dotty, Art was also a very active member of the Cornell University Class of 1944. In 1998 they jointly received the prestigious Frank H. T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award, which honors Cornell alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the University through long-term volunteer activities.
Art is survived by his wife, Dotty, son Dale Kesten and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter Lynn Coakley, and granddaughters Shannon Coakley and Lauren Coakley-Vincent and her husband, Lesley Vincent.
Interment will take place at the Arlington Cemetery Columbarium in the Spring of 2015. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the AAAA Scholarship Foundation, Inc., Cornell University "Class of 1944 Cornell Tradition Fellowship Fund" or EQUUS Foundation, Inc.
Tens of thousands of Army Aviators over the years have benefited from the legacy of Art Kesten. Much of the U.S. Army Aviation success on today's battlefields around the world directly results from the initiative, drive, tenacity, and determination of this dynamic husband and wife team who truly lived the AAAA motto, "Supporting the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family".
|Video Interview of Art Kesten|