Rob Lukens was one of those people whom I wanted to get to know. But sadly, although we shared many friends and acquaintances in common, cancer has taken him away from his family and Chester County and I will never get that opportunity. Rob Lukens was President of the Chester County Historical Society.
He did many fabulous and amazing things when it comes to the history of where we live, Chester County, PA. I always enjoyed his articles which would appear on the Chester County Historical Society website and in the Daily Local. The last one was this past May.
Rob lost his battle with cancer on August 1st. As a cancer survivor, it always touches a very sad chord within me when someone else loses their battle. As a survivor of breast cancer, I know I lead a charmed life, but this news just made me so sad and not just because of what Rob meant to the Chester County Historical Society and historic preservation here in Chester County, but because of his family. Rob leaves behind him a beautiful wife and equally beautiful children. To them I send my most heartfelt condolences.
If you admire people like Rob Lukens, I hope you will continue to support organizations like the Chester County Historical Society. Every membership helps.
I will close this post with what the Chester County Historical Society released overnight:
It is with deep regret and a profound sadness that we inform you of the death of our President, Rob Lukens, PhD, August 1st, following a long fight with cancer.
Rob became our President in 2011, although his association with the Chester County Historical Society began in 1993, over twenty years ago when Rob helped catalog, pack, and move museum objects as a volunteer during his undergraduate studies. Later, he was an intern at CCHS and then became our Collections Manager in 1998. Rob left CCHS in 2003 to become the Head of Collections at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His career then took him to Historic Yellow Springs and the United States Capitol Visitors Center before bringing him back to the Historical Society, ready to lead the institution that he loved so much.
Rob brought passion and a commitment to share Chester County’s history with the community beyond the walls of CCHS. He initiated a regular column in the Daily Local News, a weekly radio program on WCHE, and the extremely popular History on Tap series. His leadership brought much needed upgrades to our facilities and continuing plans for their improvement. Throughout his illness he remained committed to CCHS, especially in developing plans for our new permanent exhibition.
George Zumbano, Chair of the CCHS Board of Trustees, spoke for all of us when he said that “Rob Lukens made an indelible mark on the Chester County Historical Society. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with him. His enthusiasm for our region’s history was contagious, and he brought a level of professional expertise that helped us move forward in innovative ways.”
Rob was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle, friend, and colleague. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Becky, his two children Abbie and Finn, and his entire family during this difficult time.
Mr. Zumbano announced that David B. Reinfeld, who has served as Acting President of CCHS for the last two years, has been named Interim President. “David has done a remarkable job throughout this difficult time, and we are confident that CCHS remains in good hands.”
The Chester County Historical Society Board of Trustees, staff members, and volunteers are grateful for the time that we had with Rob, and we will miss him dearly. His work, which is our work, will continue.
Chester County Historical Society will post funeral details on its website when they are available.