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In Memoriam: Court of Federal Claims Senior Judge Kenneth Harkins

Posted on December 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

Kenneth R. Harkins, 88, who served for almost 30 years as a judge for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, died October 8, 2009 at the Goodwin House retirement home in the Baileys Crossroads area of Fairfax County.  He had Alzheimer's disease.

Judge Harkins joined the Court of Federal Claims in 1971 and presided over cases brought by people making financial claims against the federal government. He retired in 2000, when he was named a senior judge.

Before joining the court, Judge Harkins had spent 16 years as a counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee under Chairman Emanuel Celler (D-N.Y.).

Kenneth Richard Harkins was born in Cadiz, Ohio, and served as a forward observer in the Army's 14th Armored Division during World War II.  He participated in the Battle of the Bulge and received the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.

He graduated from Ohio State University in 1943 and received his law degree from Ohio State in 1948.  He came to Washington in 1949 and worked for the Housing and Home Finance Agency (the predecessor of the Department of Housing and Urban Development) and as a trial lawyer with the Justice Department's antitrust division before serving with the House Judiciary Committee.

Judge Harkins lived in Arlington County and enjoyed hiking and travel. He volunteered with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, helping with trail maintenance.  Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Helen Dozer Harkins of Arlington; two children, M. Elaine Harkins of Denver and Richard A. Harkins of Vienna; and three granddaughters.

Mrs. Harkins and the family have suggested that any donations be made in Judge Harkins’ name to an American Bar Association pro bono program of the donor’s choosing.