H.R. Kosmata

05/28/1930 — 01/11/2024

From Richland, Washington | Born in Ord, Nebraska

H.R. Kosmata

Harlan Ray “Hank” Kosmata (“Kos” to family and friends) died at his home on January 11 surrounded by his loving family. Hank was born on May 28, 1930 in Ord, Nebraska the son of Mike and Opal (the only one that could get away with calling him Harlan) Kosmata. The family, including his younger brother Alan, moved from Nebraska to Idaho in 1945. A top scholar and athlete, Hank graduated valedictorian from Caldwell High School and received a scholarship to play football at the University of Utah. A proud member of the 1951 Skyline Championship team, Hank enthusiastically cheered on the Utes for the rest of his life. After graduating with honors from Utah with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Hank spent two years in the Air Force and then moved to Richland in January of 1954 to take a position as an Engineering Assistant for General Electric (transitioning to Douglas United Nuclear) where he worked until 1972.

A newspaper clipping of Helen Reeve Sagvold, a beautiful Kadlec nurse holding up a new baby, caught Hank’s eye.  His quest was successful and they were married in 1956. The young couple spent several years enjoying their careers and pursuing mutual interests of water and snow skiing with friends, bird hunting with their yellow lab Duke and travel. In 1960, Hank and Reeve helped build their home (dock first) in North Richland on the banks of the Columbia River. Life was truly wonderful and complete when they welcomed first their son Matt and later, daughter Kristi. The Kosmata home quickly became the center of the neighborhood as young families moved in– kids sledding down their big hill in the winter and water activities down at the dock in the summer. “We are living at a resort!” Kos loved to say with a big smile, and it truly was for his kids (albeit one without a television set).

Hank had an interesting and varied professional career. One of his favorite and often talked about jobs was one of his first, working for GE in the Reactor Design Analysis Unit in 1955. He was a design engineer involved in the development of the conceptual and detail design, the support of construction, and the start-up and initial operation of the N Reactor. This job led him to gain enormous respect for the nuclear pioneers and created a lifetime passion for nuclear power.

Hank completed his MBA from University of Washington in 1964. When the nuclear industry seemed to be heading in the wrong direction, he transitioned into a new career in 1972, and became the Chief Financial Officer for Holosonics, a start-up company that used holograms for imaging defects in materials. The company didn’t do as well as hoped, they gave up going public, and Hank moved back into the nuclear power business, working for WPPSS from 1973-1990. As Manager of Planning & Analysis, his final project was directing and coordinating the development of agreements to establish the construction and power sales contracts supporting the formation of nuclear projects 4 and 5. He developed the financial models to support the multibillion-dollar financing of these projects, was active in selling the bonds to finance the projects, and participated in extensive litigation following the termination of the projects.

Hank retired in 1990 but remained very interested and passionate about contributing to the community of Richland. He served on the Utility Advisory Committee for 15 years from 2000 -2015, (serving as Chairman for 5 years, Vice Chair for 4). His leadership (some might call it stubborn persistence) resulted in the Council reaching a crucial decision regarding the City’s determination to remain a “load following” rather than “slice” customer of the Bonneville Power Administration, thereby resulting in considerable savings to Richland’s electric utility customers.

He also took great pride in his involvement in the B Reactor Museum Association (BRMA), as a member from 2000 until 2018, serving as President from 2006-2008. After conducting many docent tours of B Reactor, Hank was “in awe standing in front of that huge front face and wandering around the control room, it’s like stepping back into 1944.” He became passionate about trying to enhance the visitor’s tour experience by developing material to watch ahead of or after a visit. With this vision, he was instrumental in securing grants, collaborating on the development of scripts and models, and helping produce the series of videos, which are available to view at www.b-reactor.org, under What to Know before You Go. Hank would be most happy if these videos helped educate and inspire people to learn more about the significance of the B Reactor—not only for the production of plutonium used in the atomic bomb but as the true birthplace of nuclear energy for world-wide electrical production and for the nuclear navy.

After suffering the devastating loss of both Reeve (2002) and Matt (2005), Kos was lucky to find a loving partner who brought him great joy, Brooke DuBois. They spent over 20 years together and with Brooke’s encouragement, they enjoyed numerous trips including Viking River Cruises, Hawaii, and The Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival.

For those that knew him well, Kos was happiest at his favorite place in the world — his home on the Columbia River. He was a voracious reader, (always borrowed his books from the Richland Public Library), listened to music, played his trumpet, watched football, got fired up by his favorite political shows (MSNBC and CNN) and loved being with his family, including “Big White” (their dog Beau).   He remained very youthful and had a great zest for life, water and snow skiing into his mid-80’s, biking and swimming laps until his final year.  A very loving father, Kos will be forever remembered by his family as having a soft heart, a big smile, and a fierce intellect.

Hank is survived by his daughter Kristi (Kevin), his partner Brooke DuBois, nephew and nieces and their families- John Sagvold (Lynette), Kristi Spohr (Marc), Torre Dahl (Brad), and Jean Simpson (Dennis) and sisters-in-law Enid Sagvold and Helen Kosmata.

The family would appreciate any donations in Hank’s name to SIGN Fracture Care International. A Celebration of Life is planned for early June at home on the Columbia River.

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  • The Kosmata home on the river was always fun and welcoming for me as a teenager, long ago. Whether I was babysitting Matt and Kristi or doing Saturday chores with Reeve, I have wonderful memories of being with them. My heartfelt condolences to Kristi, Brooke and all who loved Hank dearly.

    Glenna Hammer Moulthrop
    January 30, 2024
    Richland
  • I am so sorry you have lost dear Hank. I first met him in 1982 when he and Reeve entrusted Kristi to me for a student trip to the USSR! Over the years, I have come to know him as a friend and neighbor and a wonderful man. Our family will miss seeing him this summer, swimming laps, smiling, and happy to see everyone. You will miss him every day, but you will certainly feel his presence as you enjoy the River.

    Teresa Knirck
    January 29, 2024
    Richland
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