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Obituary for Richard Kraiger

Richard Kraiger, retired Lutheran pastor and Aberdeen, WA. resident, died on April 14 2018 at the age of 81. Pastor Kraiger loved the outdoors and was an avid hiker, backpacker, hunter, fisherman and Nordic skier.

He was born January 11, 1937 in Bell California to Russell Hladik and his wife Ellen Nee Hays. His parents divorced before he was two and when his mother married Harold Kraiger he was adopted and officially given the Kraiger name.

Richard attended Bethel High School, graduated from Pacific Luthern University in 1959, and went on to attend Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. He wed Naomi Ruth Miller on June 12, 1960. They would have been married 58 years this June. After a year-long internship in Baltimore they returned to the Seminary where Richard graduated in 1963. Their family then moved to Germany for Richard's graduate study at the University of Heidelberg. The Kraiger's returned to the United States in 1969 in time to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

Pastor Kraiger served the Lutheran congregation of New Leipzig, Wishek and Bowman in Southwestern North Dakota for 20 years. in addition he served as an instructor and later Dean of Faculty at the Great Plains Institute of Theology a continuing education program for clergy. Naomi and Richard moved to Alaska in 1989 where he served at Fairbanks Lutheran church from June 1, 1989 to June 1, 1999. He was diagnosed with advance aggressive prostate cancer in 1997 and treated with radiation therapies in the spring of 1998 at the University of California in San Francisco (USFC).

After retiring in 1999 he served part time at Delta Presbyterian and Faith Lutheran in Delta Junction 100 miles south of Fairbanks, AK. He initially began leading two separate services on Sunday, one for the Presbyterians and one for the Lutherans. After about a year of this ministry the congregations decided to hold one service each Sunday embracing components of each liturgy. During his tenure at Delta Junction he was given an indefinite leave of absence to care for his mother in Arizona for the last months of her life.

In 2011 Richard and Naomi moved to Aberdeen, WA. to be near their younger daughter and her family. A highlight of the Kraiger's residence in Aberdeen is the many friends they made at Amazing Grace Lutheran.

He is survived by his wife, Naomi (Keller) Kraiger, children: Cyndee Kraiger Burris (Brett), Kris Kraiger (Ruby Dollins),and Anneliese Kraiger (Stephen Natwick); two brothers: Bill Kraiger and Edward (Bud) Hladik; three sisters: Joy (Hladik) Shipley, Jeanie (Hladik) Hink and Merilyn Kraiger; six grandchildren: Nathan Kraiger Olson and Alexa Burris, Elijah and Solange Kraiger, Jacob and Annika Natwick.
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