Rodney Loehr: Obituary

Rodney Loehr, a retired University of Minnesota history professor and a former Army historian who attended the Yalta Conference in 1945 and a post-World War II clandestine investigator, died of natural causes Saturday in Bloomington.

He was 97.

About 1946 and '47 he worked for an organization that was a predecessor of the CIA, said Raymond Ploetz of Maple Grove, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve.

"His cover story was that he was an interrogator for the State Department. I deduced that he was actually hunting Nazi war criminals," said Ploetz, who had served in the Army Reserve's 483rd Strategic Intelligence Detachment, which Loehr commanded from the mid-1950s to 1963.

At one point he was pursued by assailants, but didn't tell his comrades who they were. "He actually fled for his life at one point" and used a safe house and a change of clothes to elude his pursuers, Ploetz said.

Loehr, who was born in Albert Lea., Minn., misled others about his age when he was 14 and enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard, serving for seven years, said his grand-nephew Steve Loehr of Edina.

Loehr earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1938 and became an American history professor there that year.

In 1942, he was commissioned as an Army officer and became historical officer for the unified high command that eventually became the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington.

He attended the Yalta Conference in February 1945, when Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin decided which superpowers would control various parts of the globe.

During the late 1940s and early '50s, Loehr returned to the Army and worked on relaunching banking operations in Germany.

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