Estelle W. Kiehnhoff

1887 - 1951

Estelle Kiehnhoff, a soprano, pianist, and organist, taught in four Seventh-day Adventist colleges in a career that spanned most of the first half of the 20th century. She was particularly noted for voice lessons in which she taught her students "to sing both sacred and secular literature with the requisite 'spirit and understanding.'"1

Estelle was born in Troy, Kansas, and raised in Marion, Kansas, the youngest of nine children of Frederick and Caroline Kiehnhoff. She graduated from high school in Wathena, Kansas, and then completed a B.Mus in piano at the University of Nebraska. By the time of the 1910 census, she was listed as a music teacher and living at home.

Three years later she became an Adventist and took a teaching position at Glendale Union Academy in California. The following year she accepted an invitation to teach at Walla Walla College, now University.

Although she did noy have a degree in voice, she taught in that area as well as piano. During her first two years at WWC she completed a B.Mus. there in voice, studying with Grace Wood Reith, head of the department. She was described in the 1916 Western Collegian, the school yearbook of the time, as "dainty, decorous, and debonair"; her singing voice was considered delightful, with a "delicate air."

Kiehnoff taught briefly at Clinton Theological Seminary in Iowa (1917-1922) before going to Union College, where she taught in the music department from 1922 to 1944. During those years, she taught piano, organ, voice, and Theory I and II, and directed the choir when needed, usually in transitional periods between choir directors.

During her time at UC, Kiehnoff took a leave of absence and completed a B.A. in music at the University of Southern California in 1936. When she returned, she continued to teach voice, piano, and theory, and assumed direction of the college chorus for a short time. She led the College View Church choir until she left to go to Atlantic Union College for a year before going to Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, in 1945.

Kiehnoff taught for six more years at EMC as an assistant professor, teaching voice and piano, until her sudden and unexpected death in May 1951, at age 63.

1 The 1923 Golden Cords, Union College yearbook.


Sources: 1910 U.S. Federal Census Records; 1916 WWC Western Collegian; Union College yearbook, Golden Cords, 1922-1944; Emmanuel Missionary College yearbook, the Cardinal, 1946-1951; Lake Union Herald, 14 November 17, 1917, 12, and Paul T. Gibbs, "Death Takes Miss Kiehnhoff," 22 May 1951, 6; Obituaries, Central Union Reaper, 5 June 1951, 7, and Review and Herald, 25 October 1951.