The Chester County Historical Society sadly announces the death of its President, Rob Lukens, PhD.

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Primary Contact: 
David Reinfeld
Primary Phone: 
610-692-4800 x 267
Primary Email:
Secondary Contact: 
Ellen Endslow
Secondary Phone: 
Secondary Email:
Release Date: 
Monday, August 3, 2015

It is with deep regret and a profound sadness that the Chester County Historical Society announces the death of its President, Rob Lukens, PhD. He passed away on August 1st, following a long fight with cancer. 

Dr. Lukens 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 much more than the President of CCHS. He was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. His survivors include his wife, Becky, and their two children, Abbie and Finn. 

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.  

Funeral details:

  • Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral service at 10 am on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at Calvary Chapel, 500 Brandywine Dr., Chadds Ford PA 19317.  The family will receive guests from 6 to 9 pm on Wednesday, August 5 at the church.  Interment is private. 

Memorial contributions may be made to Chester County Historical Society, 225 N. High St., West Chester, PA 19380 or educational funds which have been established for Abbie and Finn through DNB Investments & Insurance.  For information on making contributions to the educational funds, please contact DNB Investments & Insurance at 484.359.3583.