Kinley Owen Eittreim, 1959

Fall 2017 (August 31, 2017)

Rev. Kinley Owen Eittreim, 84, of Huntsville, Ala., died June 3, 2017, at his home. A memorial service was held June 7, at All Saints Lutheran Church in Huntsville, Ala. The family is suggesting memorials be given to the Alzheimers Association at to help with research into this debilitating disease.

Kinley Owen Eittreim was born Sept. 29, 1932, in Decorah. He attended Decorah schools, where he played the bassoon in the band, and graduated in 1950. He attended Luther College for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Navy to serve four years in the Silent Service as an electronics technician on board the USS Sabalo submarine. When his enlistment ended, he returned to Luther College to graduate in 1959 with a major in classical languages. While at Luther he met Ann Neiswanger ‘60, and they were married Aug. 6, 1960.

Kinley attended Luther Seminary in Minneapolis, and interned at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, Calif. In 1963 he was ordained at First Lutheran Church in Decorah. He served as Pastor in Sarles, N.D., McVille, N.D., at Trinity Lutheran in Newman Grove, Neb., Messiah Lutheran in Vestavia Hills, Ala., Prince of Peace Lutheran and All Saints Lutheran in Huntsville, Ala. and Faith Lutheran in Birmingham, Ala.

Kinley was active for 32 years in the Naval and Marine Corp Reserves as a chaplain. He received the rank of Commander, Chaplain Corps. Some of the highlights of Kinley’s career were the honor of swearing his son Mark into the Navy and being asked to be the commissioning ceremony chaplain for the USS Annapolis, his son’s boat. He is the only reserve chaplain ever asked to do so. (Quoted from remarks at his retirement ceremony: “Kinley Eittreim’s strength as an officer, a chaplain, a counselor and civilian minister is, besides his faith, his compassion for his fellowman.”) He earned a Navy Commendation medal for service in the Navy's fleet hospital and was surreptitiously given a coveted Drill Instructor's hat.

Pastor Eittreim was the director of Vestavia Hills Counseling Center at Messiah Lutheran Church in Vestavia Hills, Ala. He served as a police and hospital chaplain for the community. He loved making and sharing homemade fudge, bread and donuts. He relaxed in his down time working on cars and riding his motorcycle.

Pastor Eittreim is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ann (Neiswanger) Eittreim ‘60, of Huntsville, Ala.; daughter, Susan and her husband, Mark Power; grandsons, Sean and Matthew Power of Birmingham, Ala.; son, Mark and his wife, Debra Eittreim of Orlando, Fla.; sisters, Marlyn Eittreim ’47 of Decorah and Janice (Eittreim) Imse ‘58 of Land O Lake, Wis.; his aunt, Anna Iverson of Decorah; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by parents, Oliver and Mabel Eittreim; father and mother-in-law, David and Rachel Neiswanger; four brothers; and one sister.