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Bo-Dyn Project mourns its patriarch

COLCHESTER, Connecticut — The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. is mourning the loss of Phil Kurze. The 69-year-old was the president of the organization that created sleds that won seven Olympic medals.

The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project’s most famous sled, the Night Train driven by the late Steven Holcomb, captured the 2010 Olympic gold medal. The achievement ended a 62-year drought for the United States which had not won a gold medal since the 1948 Winter Games.

The notion of American-made bobsleds came from NASCAR great, Geoff Bodine. He collaborated with race car designer Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics, hence the creation of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project.

Kurze was vice-president of Whelen Engineering, a NASCAR sponsor. Kurze approached Geoff Bodine about sponsoring his car; one of Bodine’s engineers was Cuneo. After a few years branding Bodine’s car and working with Cuneo, Kurze became president of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 2003.

John Morgan was added as its Executive Director in 2005. The quartet had the singular mission of evolving technology to keep American athletes on the world and Olympic podium. Kurze’ commitment to that goal led to the sleds successes.

Phil Kurze (Photo courtesy of Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project)

“I’m overcome with sadness over the loss of Phil, and want to express my heartfelt sympathies to his family,” Bodine said. “Phil was our friend and colleague, and a wonderful family man. He was most instrumental in positioning our sleds for the international success that we experienced. And I know he’s now exchanging those stories with Steve in the hereafter.”

Kurze’s family stated that he succumbed after a long and courageous battle with cancer. The man who was born on July 29, 1949 in Middletown, Connecticut, passed peacefully on Dec. 12, 2018.

Kurze married Jo-Ann Robbins on July 6, 1974 and settled in Colchester where they raised their daughter. They were married for 44 years. He worked at Whelen Engineering for more than 25 years. During that time, he grew a love for emergency warning systems and became the vice-president of Motorsports.

Kurze was a devoted supporter and fan of short track racing and got so much joy from being a part of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour family. He was a proud supporter of Central Connecticut State University and their athletic department.

He was predeceased by his father, John, and his brother John Jr. Phil is survived by mother Doris, his wife Jo-Ann, his daughter Katharine Ahlgren and her husband Christopher, and his three grandchildren Ryan, Hadley and Bode.

Visitation was held at the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook. Funeral services took place on Dec. 17 at The First Congregational Church of Deep River.

Interment services were privately held by the Kurze family in the Fountain Hill Cemetery in Deep River. Those wishing to remember Phil may make donations to the Shriners Children’s Hospital Burn Care Unit, 51 Blossom Street, Boston, Mass. 02114, or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas. 66675-8517.

To share a memory of Phil or leave a condolence for his family, visit www.rwwfh.com.

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