July 10, 1960 — Aug. 18, 2018
Kristi was born to Robert I. and Elsie A. Penner on July 10, 1960, in Wolf Point, Montana. She died on Aug. 18, 2018, in Astoria, Oregon, from an aggressive form of cancer.
Kristi received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and her master’s degree in music from San Francisco State University in California.
Kristi married the Rev. Stephan M. Kienberger on Aug. 4, 1984. She taught music in the San Francisco Bay Area for 11 years, including Los Altos, Miramonte, Concord and Northgate high schools. She took leaves of absence two times for church work in Germany, and as a short-term missionary with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the Peace Centre for the Blind in North Jerusalem from 1994-1995.
With the birth of their first child, Elsa, she moved with her husband, Steve, to serve Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her second daughter, Anna, was born there, and she devoted herself to raising her daughters and supporting the ministries and music programs of the local congregations and Caribbean Synod.
St. Thomas brought new professional development to her through church music opportunities, and choral conducting at University of the Virgin Islands, and as music director of the Caribbean Chorale. She did research, and presented a session on the life of native Virgin Islander, Alton Augustus Adams, first black Navy bandmaster, at UVI and at the California Music Education Association Music Educator’s Conference in Pasadena.
In 2006, she moved with her family to Oslo, Norway. Her musical work continued with two church choirs and instrumental opportunities at the American Lutheran Church, including organizing the annual sing-along “Messiah.” In 2010, she moved with her family to Berlin, Germany. In addition to her support of the American Church in Berlin music program, she continued to perform on bassoon and teach double reeds at the John F. Kennedy School.
Kristi is survived by her husband, Steve; daughters, Elsa and Anna; and her brother and sisters, James Penner, Patricia Penner Darchuk and Karen Traeholt, and their families.
The light of Christ shone bright throughout her life and she was truly the embodiment of an “Eshet Chayil,” Woman of Valor!
A memorial service will be held at First Lutheran Church Astoria at 11 a.m. Aug. 31, followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to: Astoria Friday Music Club Scholarship, Pacific Lutheran University Music, or First Lutheran Church Memorial Fund.