Alfred Kaehler accomplished so many things. He graduated from UC Berkeley. He worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II as a mechanical engineer and Junior Scientist. He worked on many other interesting projects at SRI in Menlo Park, Lockheed, and Raychem.
"Al," as he was affectionately known, learned how to fly, owned an antique airplane, and continued to fly as the rise airport control towers forced him to talk on the radio.
He was married for more than 60 years and raised three kids. He played clarinet and saxophone in many bands, including one that met at his house every week for more than 25 years.
Stuttering forced a natural humility that was evident to all who knew Al. We children saw him overcome challenges every day, and seeing the reality of that helped us grow.
In his life, Alfred did suffer some discrimination. His units from junior college were thrown out by a Dean at Berkeley, and he had to attend for an extra year. He felt he could not effectively protest. During WWII he invented a device that would be made by Coors in Colorado. Alfred was not allowed to travel to Coors, and another engineer was sent instead.
In the 1960s, Al wrote a paper about another invention of his that is used on missiles. The paper was accepted at an aerospace symposium at JPL, but Al was pressured into letting another engineer give the talk about the paper.
Al was sent to a faith healer as a teenager to cure his stuttering. He endured the "treatment", but was happy when the travel stipend was large. He bought a new suit with the leftover funds.
Kaehler attended the National Hospital for Speech Disorder with Dr. James Sonnett Greene, who was renowned at the time as being an expert on stuttering. He clearly admired Dr. Greene.
About 20 years ago, the Stuttering Foundation received a call from a woman in NYC who had found a portrait of Dr. Greene in the trash bin of the apartment complex where she lived. She called to see if it was of interest, because she realized “he clearly was an important person who touched many lives.” The portrait included a description of him as head of the National Hospital for Speech.
Cathy Montgomery, founder of the American Institute for Stuttering in New York City, immediately went over and got the portrait of Dr. Greene. It now hangs in the AIS office in New York City.
Al kept these TALK magazines in his personal collection for most of his life. His children have generously donated these magazines to The Stuttering Foundation archives.
The article below was printed just six months after the end of World War II.
From the Summer 2023 Magazine