Richard Leroy Kienlen was born on 20 October 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri, to George Alexander Kienlen and Margaret Emily Dunsford, both of St. Louis. As a young child he moved with his parents from Maplewood to St. Louis City to a four-family flat on Russell Avenue. He was an only child. Rich attended McKinley High School, where he was a member of the Photography Club and the Chess Club. To earn money, he had a job as a “soda jerk” and also delivered Avon products to his grandmother’s (and later grandfather’s) customers. He loved to travel all around the city on the streetcars.

After high school, Rich worked for a short time at Ralston Purina Company. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1956 and spent most of his time in the Navy in San Diego. He did electrical work and painted airplane dials with glow-in-the-dark paint, but he said he enjoyed his time delivering mail the most because people were always happy when they got mail.

Rich returned to the Ralston Purina Company after he left the Navy. He worked as a photographer taking pictures of anything that needed to be photographed— breakfast cereal, animal surgeries, employee photographs, even the St. Louis Blues team photos and games when they were owned by the company.

On 3 October 1964, in St. Louis Missouri, Rich married Sharon Eileen Aden, daughter of Chester Paul Aden and Norma Lucille Holland of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. They had moved to St. Louis for better employment opportunities, and the couple met while working at Purina. Their first house was in Affton, where they lived from 1965 to 1975. They bought a new home in Oakville in 1975. Rich was a member of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Catholic Church. Rich and Sharon had three daughters, who all still live in the St. Louis area.

Rich loved to drive and loved to travel. He visited most of the states and the southern provinces of Canada, all by car. He was always planning his next adventure. He also loved the St. Louis Cardinals and never missed a televised game. He loved to learn, had a strong interest in science, and enjoyed watching television. Star Trek, Seinfeld, and Breaking Bad were some of his favorite shows.

Rich lost his wife in 2007, and he died on Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 2014, in St. Louis County. Before his death, he said he was most proud of his family, which, by that point, included his three daughters, their spouses, five granddaughters, two grandsons, and one great-granddaughter. He was buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis County, Missouri.

Written by Leslie Kienlen Rigsby
July 2017

© 2018, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Richard Leroy Kienlen
Richard Leroy Kienlen
Photo in the collection of Lynn Kienlen Rigsby
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:22