Longtime Aspen resident and former Pitkin County Sheriff Dick Kienast died Saturday, March 27, surrounded by his family. He died in a Denver hospital from complications of heart bypass surgery.
Richard Eugene Kienast was born May 12, 1939, in Milwaukee, Wis., to Anna Mae Martwick Kienast and Roland John Kienast. He grew up in Oconomowoc, Wis., and graduated from high school there. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Notre Dame, where he graduated with a degree in the general program in 1962. He received a masters degree in philosophy from Duke University in 1963 and a masters degree in theology from Notre Dame in 1965.
He taught classes in Great Books and religion at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., for three years and then he and his wife, Christie, and three sons moved to Aspen to stay in 1968 after spending many years coming to visit and ski. Two more sons were born in Aspen in 1969 and 1971.
Dick was elected sheriff in 1976 and re-elected in 1978 and 1982.
He is survived by his five sons: Michael, his wife, Susie, and their daughter, Kaila of Mesa, Ariz.; Paul, his wife, Jan, and their children, Janelle, John and Mark of Simla, Colo.; Steve, of Aspen; John and his wife, Molly, and their children, Isabel and Crosby of Carbondale; and Robert and his wife, Elisabeth, and their children, Theodore and Eloise of Denver.
He is also survived by his ex-wife, Christie, of Aspen, and a brother, Philip and his family of Bethell, Wash.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother, Robert.
Visitation will be Friday, April 2, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Aspen from 9:30 to 11 a.m. It will be followed by a funeral mass at 11 a.m. Burial will be at Red Butte Cemetery immediately after the mass, then a reception will follow in the basement of St. Mary’s.
Farnum-Holt is handling the funeral arrangements.