Architect Bernard A Kellenyi FAIA Dies at 93

February 27, 2013

Bernard A Kellenyi FAIA
1920 – 2013

Bernard Alexander Kellenyi FAIA passed away this past Sunday at the age of 93. Bernie had been a member of AIA since 1948, having graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture cum laude from Catholic University.

Immediately upon graduation, Bernie entered the military, flying his bomber to England as part of the US 8th Air Force where he would serve as the 1st  pilot on a B-17 Bomber (also known as a “Flying Fortress”). Bernie arrived in England on D-Day in 1944 and flew 35 combat missions over enemy occupied Europe. During his 35 missions Bernie aided in the destruction of strategic military targets in Berlin, Schweinfurt, Munich, Nurnberg and Bremen to name just a few, sustaining severe damage on several occasions from anti-aircraft artillery and German fighters. In addition to flying support missions to assist the ground forces during the battle of the Bulge, one of Bernie’s more memorable and satisfying missions was a low level flight deep into German occupied France to drop supplies to assist the French Resistance Freedom Fighters known as the Marquies. For his service Bernie received special commendation for five missions, and was awarded the Air Medal with Four Oak Clusters as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After returning from the war, Bernie started an architectural practice in Monmouth County New Jersey, currently Kellenyi Johnson Wagner Architects of Red Bank, building a successful firm and completing many significant projects including Brookdale Community College, the Monmouth Park Racetrack Clubhouse and Grandstand and corporate headquarters for Electronics Associates and Jersey Central Power and Light.

In addition to a successful private practice, Bernie found time to give back to his profession, serving continuously on the New Jersey State Board of Architects from 1976 to 2006, having been appointed by five consecutive governors from Brendan T. Byrne to James E. McGreevy and serving as Board President on three separate occasions. As a “charter member” of the Site Plan Rule Ad Hoc Committee, comprised of members from the Boards of Architects, Engineers, Land Surveyors and Planners Bernie was instrumental in the development of new rules which were adopted in 1981 establishing areas of responsibility for professionals involved in site plan preparation; and more particularly, preserving the rights of the architect to prepare site plans.

Perhaps his most significant achievement during his tenure on the State Board was his role in drafting and passage into law of the “Building Design Services Act” in 1991. This law helped to clarify the overlapping parameters of practice by architects and engineers on the design of buildings based on the principle of defining the areas of practice by “Use Groups” as defined at that time by the BOCA national building codes.

During his tenure on the Board, he was also instrumental in developing regulations for a degree requirement, the Intern Development Program, continuing education requirements, a rule to facilitate reciprocity and updating rules to coordinate with the changing building industry.

For his professional achievements and service to the profession, Bernie was elected to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows in 2001.

Bernie also served the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards from 1976 through 2000. As a Director of NCARB, he played a significant role in setting a new direction for examination, licensing and new practice related standards for the profession. He represented the profession during a critical period when examination methods, educational standards and training procedures were undergoing substantial revisions. The qualifying / professional method of examination was being challenged, and the new nine parts ARE (Architect Registration Examination) was initiated.

Bernie’s service to NCARB included working with numerous Committees including chairing the Methodology, Professional Conduct and Communications Committees. Bernie was a member of the NCARB Middle Atlantic Conference from 1977 to 1984, holding the position of Regional Chairman from 1980 to 1981. He also served as a Director on the National Council Board of Directors from 1981 to 1984. Bernie’s leadership was recognized by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, awarding him the Middle Atlantic Region’s Outstanding Leadership Citations in 1984 and the NCARB President’s Medal in 1996.

Bernard was predeceased by his parents, his brother, Joseph, and in 2010 by his beloved wife of 68 years, Margaret Bingham Kellenyi. He is survived by his son John and wife Teresita of Maplewood, his daughter, Kathleen Fitzgerald and husband Brian of Red Bank, sisters; Mitzi Danowitz of FL and Patricia Chernawsky of Lincroft, grandchildren; John, Rory, Glenn and Kyle Fitzgerald, Cristina and Timothy Kellenyi and Jessica Orrego, and great-grandchildren, Toby and Sadie Thompson.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 28th from 6:30-9pm and Friday, March 1st from 8:30 to 9:30am at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday, 10am at St. James RC Church, Red Bank. Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bernard’s memory to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 14 Commerce Dr., Suite 301, Cranford, NJ 07016. Please visit Bernard’s memorial website available at

Read previous post and link to full obituary on nj.comAIA-NJ

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