Alumni | Response Magazine | Seattle Life

Professor of the Year Karl Krienke left mark on the stars

Ora “Karl” Krienke Jr. ’53, MA ’55, professor emeritus of physics, mathematics, and computer science, died Dec. 7, 2018, at the age of 87.

Karl KrienkeConsidered a Renaissance man by many, Krienke was in high school when he discovered a new comet, ultimately named the Bakharev-Macfarlane-Krienke comet in 1955.

After graduating from Seattle Pacific College in 1953, he became an instructor of mathematics and earned a master’s degree in religion two years later. He earned master’s degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Washington, along with a doctorate in astronomy. He also attended Simpson Bible College and was ordained in the Free Methodist Church in 1959.

By 1971, Krienke was a tenured professor, serving on the committee working with the architects designing Demaray Hall and on the task force exploring Seattle Pacific’s move from “college” to “university.”

Krienke was widely recognized for his excellence at SPU: He was named Professor of the Year in 1981 and received the Alumni Medallion Award in 1993. He was dean of the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences from 1993 to 1994. He retired in 1997 after 44 years at the University.

An active member of First Free Methodist Church in Seattle, Krienke helped serve communion and teach adult Sunday school.

With a lifelong love of discovery, he shared how science demonstrated the existence of God. Among other things, he studied the formation of star clusters in the Andromeda Galaxy. He told Response in 2004, “We are in the process of discovering a God far greater than we’ve ever envisioned before.”

Krienke is survived by his wife of 58 years, Reita Fletcher Krienke ’55, children Martin Krienke ’86 and Carol Krienke Ginning ’88, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Get Response magazine
Subscribe to SPU's Response magazine, and discover how people in our community are impacting the world for good — and you can too!
Subscribe Now