R.I.P. Robert D. Kephart (1935-2004)

Bob Kephart, who was publisher of Human Events from 1968-1975, died June 8, 2004, at his home in Belleair Shore, Fla. After a painful and hard-fought three-year battle with prostate cancer that had spread throughout his body. A native of Colorado, Bob was drafted into the Army not long after graduating from high school and, upon his release, found himself in Atlanta, Ga., where he then went to work for two freight forwarding firms. He responded to an ad in Human Events and in August 1964 he moved from Georgia with his wife and two children to Washington, D.C., to become business manager of Human Events. Later that year he became controller and by February 1967 had been named publisher, the job he held for eight more years.

During the 1970s his extensive readings and discussions with individuals such as Ayn Rand, Doug Casey, Murray Rothbard, and Richard Band led him away from traditional conservatism and reliance on elections and the political process for progress and he became a hard-core libertarian. In early 1975 he exchanged his ownership interest in Human Events for ownership of the Inflation Survival Letter (which Human Events had started publishing at Bob’s recommendation).

After leaving Human Events, he set up Kephart Communications, Inc. (KCI) in Northern Virginia, a financial publishing company that promoted free-market economics and hard-money investing. It continued publishing the Inflation Survival Letter (later Personal Finance), along with Audio Form and Libertarian Review.

In 1982 he sold KCI and left the D.C. area for Florida. There he continued to promote libertarianism and hard-money investments, organizing and promoting financial conferences, instructional materials, lecture series and conferences on cassette tape. He quietly and generously supported a number of individuals and causes. Mark Skousen, editor of Eagle Publishing’s Forecasts & Strategies, remembers Bob fondly: “Bob hired me to be managing editor of the Inflation Survival Letter and opened a whole new world to me. He was a friend who got me started in the financial world, and I will always be grateful for his support. He was not a public man, but behind the scenes he supported friends and libertarian causes everywhere.” Among the groups he had been aiding are: Human Rights Watch, the Institute for Justice, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Economic Education and the Cato Institute.

Bob’s marriage to the former Susan Pair ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife and business partner Janet and son Patrick. A daughter, Susanne, died in 1974. There will be a “Celebration of the Life of Robert D. Kephart”—an afternoon of shared experiences and tributes to Bob—Saturday, July 10 at the Belleair Country Club, Belleair, Fla. (Anyone desiring to attend should e-mail Lara Humsberger at [email protected].)


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