Robert E. (Bob) Christian
FIRST HEADMASTER OF HKIS
Bob was born December 13, 1927 in Summit, Illinois, and called to his eternal rest on March 27, 2023. His parents, Erich and Helen, presented him for baptism on January 1, 1928, the “Naming Day of Jesus.” In 1931 Erich was diagnosed with tuberculosis and admitted to Wheat Ridge Sanatorium in Colorado where he remained until 1936. During those years Helen, Bob, and younger brother Carl lived with Helen’s parents, the Bobzins, in Chicago. Bob also spent long summers on uncles’ farms near Clyman, Wisconsin, where he developed a youngster’s love for catching and eating bullheads.
Bob attended Lutheran elementary schools in Chicago before enrolling first at Concordia High School and then at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois. He later did graduate studies at Columbia University (Administration) and Hunter College (Counseling) in New York.
Bob met his future wife Arleen at Concordia and they married at her home church in Klinger, Iowa, on August 26, 1950. Their first four children, David, Ann, Rebecca, and Lois were all born in New York, while Julie followed in Hong Kong. Bob got great joy out of family gatherings, especially barbecues and dim sum meals. He had a joyous laugh, a great sense of curiosity and the ability to look for the positive in almost any situation.
Bob’s entire professional life was spent in Christian ministry at Lutheran schools, beginning with Our Saviour Lutheran in the Bronx. During his time there, he was instrumental in adding a high school to the established elementary classes. Bob’s pastor there, Berthold von Schenk, deeply affected his life, emphasizing Word and Sacrament, as well as understanding the church as the Body of Christ on earth.
In 1966 the Board for Missions of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod called Bob and Arleen to move to Asia and open Hong Kong International School. Bob served as Headmaster there until 1977, when he was called to open Seattle Lutheran High School.
Bob “retired” from Seattle Lutheran in 1994, and for the next eight years laid the foundation for opening Mount Rainier Lutheran High School in Tacoma, Washington. During his retirement years, Bob continued leading the Stephen Caregiving Ministry at Hope Lutheran Church. Bob and Arleen moved to Providence Mount St. Vincent in 2017 and lived in that supportive community until their deaths.
Bob is survived by: brother Carl; five children—David Christian, Ann Christian, Rebecca Sandell, Lois Erickson, and Julie Christian; nine grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. His wife Arleen preceded him in death in 2018.
Bob was always grateful to God, to his wife and family, and to the many others who helped make it possible for him to serve in the ministries of the church.
Memorial gifts may be made to: Hope School (to help fund the purchase of the Seattle Lutheran High building,) 4456 42nd Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116, or to Providence Mount St Vincent, 4831 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126.