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Donald E Kienlen

Donald E Kienlen (“Don”) passed away on January 24, 2023, at the age of 92. Don was born in Elgin, Illinois, on October 14, 1930. He attended the University of New Mexico where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering in 1952 and went to work for the New Mexico State Engineer’s office. Don soon met his future wife, Shirley. There were many doubters, he being Catholic and she being Southern Baptist, however love prevailed and they were married for 61 years.

In 1957 they moved to Sacramento where Don went to work for the California Department of Water Resources and then the State Water Board of California. Don became a founding partner of Murray Burns and Kienlen Consulting Civil Engineers in 1967. Don’s son and granddaughter would later join the firm, now known as MBK Engineers. Don was known and respected throughout the State as an expert in water rights by those he worked with, whether they were on the same side of the issue or not.

Don was a devoted family man. He loved backpacking, camping, and fishing. He was very involved in the Boy Scouts in the 1960s and early 70s. Don and Shirley built a home in Graeagle, California, and retired there in 1991. Don and Shirley loved to travel taking trips to Alaska, New Zealand, and river cruises in Europe and Scandinavia. Don lost his girl Shirley in 2016. He is survived by his son Gary (Mary), daughter Nanette (David), 5 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.

There will be a mass held at Holy Family Church in Portola, California, Friday April 14, 2023, at 11:00am.  A reception will follow in the church hall. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Macular Degeneration Foundation.

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