Richard F. Kirchner, SSA official

Richard Franklyn Kirchner, a World War II veteran and retired Social Security Administration official, died Jan. 7 of Lewy body dementia at the Harmony Hall assisted-living facility in Columbia.

He was 86.

Mr. Kirchner was born in New York City and raised there and in Monticello, N.Y., where his father recuperated from tuberculosis.

After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City in 1943, he was drafted into the Army and served as a hospital corpsman in England and Europe.

He earned a bachelor's degree in 1949 on the GI Bill of Rights from New York University. In 1957, he earned a law degree from Brooklyn Law School and practiced in Bayshore, N.Y., until joining SSA in the early 1960s.

Mr. Kirchner moved to Columbia in 1971 when he was named assistant director of the SSA's Bureau of Disability Insurance. He retired in 1981.

In 1984, Gov. Harry R. Hughes appointed Mr. Kirchner to the state Office on Aging, a position he held until stepping down in 1988.

A transportation advocate, Mr. Kirchner was a co-founder of Neighbor Ride and headed Transportation Advocates for the last 12 years.

An avid reader, Mr. Kirchner, who had lived in Ellicott City for the past five years, was a world traveler and enjoyed attending the theater.

"He was also a classic-Hollywood movie buff," said his wife of 36 years, the former Terry Balchun.

Mr. Kirchner was a communicant of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, 3755 St. Paul St., Ellicott City, where a memorial service will be held at 8 a.m. Wednesday, which will be followed by a breakfast.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Kirchner is survived by a son, Robert M. Kirchner of Edmonton, Canada; a daughter, Nancy S. Kirchner of Elkridge; three stepsons, David Palencar of Sykesville, Michael Palencar of Friends in Frederick County and Joseph Palencar of Towson; and 12 grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Elaine Johnson ended in divorce.

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