Kristin P. Oehlke

September 28, 1959July 19, 2018

Kristin Peterson Oehlke, born in St. James, Watonwan County, MN, was baptized and confirmed at Kansas Lake Lutheran Church, Butterfield MN.

She graduated St. James High School; Gustavus Adolphus College (B.A.) where she developed a love of biology in Nobel Science Hall; Univ. of Pittsburgh (M.A.) and Univ. of CO Health Sci-ences Center, Seattle (M.A.).

Kristin was a Genetic Counselor, who applied her knowledge to many levels of genetics including public health, and this mission took her across the country, starting with Oregon Health Sciences Univ., Portland; Metabolic Trial Coordinator, Univ. of CO Health Sciences Center; Cytogenetic Technologist, Univ, of WA Cytogenetic Laboratory; Seattle; Molecular Genetics Technologist, Children’s Hospital, Denver; Genetic Counselor, Memorial Hospital, Colorado Springs; DNA Diagnostic Laboratory Consultant, OR Health Sciences Univ., Portland and the MN Dept of Health (MDH), St. Paul, where she had various positions and responsibilities. Among her noteworthy accomplishments were working as a public health geneticist at MDH and as the supervisor of the MDH team who expanded the Birth Defects registry across the state with enhanced follow up and prevention.

Her knowledge and expertise were admired and respected by all who worked with her.

She was the CDC ATPM Career Development Awardee, Office of Genomics and Disease Pre-vention, Atlanta. She worked with the Familial Cancer Registry, Univ. of MN Health Sciences Center, Minneapolis.

Kristin loved her pets, horses, dogs and cats. She was an inquisitive traveler who enjoyed the wonders of the road. She loved good food, good wine, good conversation and company. As a Na-ked Wine Archangel, her wine reviews were well respected. Most of all, she loved Paul, lutfisk and being a Swede.

Preceded in death by parents, Wendell and Elin Peterson. Kristin is survived by husband, Paul; siblings, Daniel Harlov and Micah Ingrid Asher.

Celebrations of Kristin’ Life: Sept. 8th, 1:00 pm, Augustana Lutheran Church, 603 Armstrong Blvd. North, St James with a church basement lunch to following. Sept. 15th at 3:30 pm, Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Pkwy N., St. Paul. with a smörgåsbord and dedication of her deck and murals to follow at 1424 Arundel Street, St. Paul.

Memorials to Union Gospel Mission, Lutheran Social Services, Raptor Center of U of M or Sec-ond Harvest Heartland.


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, September 8, 2018
  • Gathering of Friends and Family Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Gathering of Friends and Family Saturday, September 15, 2018

Kristin P. Oehlke

have a memory or condolence to add?

Carrie (Zabel) Lahner

September 4, 2018

My deepest sympathies to Kris' family. She was truly a remarkable genetic counselor and friend. I had not interacted with her for many years, but I will never forget her kind and generous spirit, both as a professional and a personal friend. She helped to mentor me when I embarked on the genetics education aspect of my career. She shared many resources and provided introductions and networking opportunities with others in this specialty, especially her former colleagues at the CDC. She was always willing to brainstorm ideas about increasing the public's knowledge about genetic influences on common, chronic diseases. I was so fortunate to have been able to know and learn from her.

Pat Himes

August 30, 2018

Kris and I had such a blast together being nerdy genetics geeks. She had a sly, subtle sense of humor and more honest dignity than anyone else. We were ASHG buddies and enjoyed the scientific sessions almost as much as we enjoyed playing hookie and going to the theater or museum. I was saddened to learn of her diagnosis but thoroughly expected her to endure and thrive despite it. She was such an amazing person and I feel so fortunate to have had her as a friend . We knew that life wasn't fair but we didn't know that her life would be so short. At least she was able to marry the love of her life and work with so many wonderful colleagues. We will miss you!

Betsy Clarke

August 27, 2018

Sending condolences to Paul and Kristin’s family.
I admire Kris’ work and appreciated her so much as a colleague at MDH. Kris was remarkable in the way she took her knowledge of genetics and transformed it into insights for public health practice. Each time I heard her speak, I left more fascinated by genetics. She passed along her love of genetics to me and inspired me to think about what this emerging science could mean for public health.
Kris and I shared many of the same geographic places....Oregon, Colorado and Minnesota. I know she loved these beautiful places.
I will miss the services for Kris as I am now living in Oregon, close to OHSU where Kris studied and worked.
Know that she was admired and loved by her colleagues. Sending my best to all.

Lori Durand

August 24, 2018

So sad to hear of Kristin’s passing. I worked with her at CDC and experienced her big heart and kind words first hand. My heart goes out to Paul and her siblings. She spoke fondly of her family, and missed them dearly while in Atlanta. Her passion for public health was evident in all of our many lunch discussions. This enthusiasm for helping others was contagious and I am confident her beautiful heart and soul touched many, many people during her time with us. May this beauty carry on through the people she touched.

paul siegel

August 14, 2018

My favorite memory of Kris was right after 9/11. She was in DC doing some CDC business, unable to fly home. I lived on "the Hill" (Senate side), and I got to host Kris for a week, until she could get home to that other Paul once the planes were allowed to fly again. What a delightful week we had, exploring all sorts of fun restaurants while we attempted to process it all, as best we could.

--Paul Siegel

Barb Kunz

August 13, 2018

I send my condolences to Kristin's family for their loss. I am a genetic counselor in the Twin Cities and met Kristin in 1996 when I returned to Minnesota and was looking for employment. She took time to meet with me for coffee and dinners, and her positive attitude and support meant so much to me as I looked for employment. I also had no idea how much meeting her would impact our family. On my first phone call with her, when she learned I had 3 young daughters, she asked if I wanted a kitten. I visited her apartment and came home with Zoe, a Siamese mix, who was being abused by one of Kristin's other cats (I believe the name of that cat was Cloe). Zoe was living behind the stove and inside a living room chair to avoid Cloe. Zoe found a loving home and lived to the age of 18; she was a beloved cat, especially by my daughter Molly, who even had a ceremony to marry Zoe, when she was young. I have not seen Kristin for many years and am saddened to have just learned about her death.

Denise (Anderson) Poetter

August 10, 2018

I met Kristin during high school. She was one of the most intelligent persons in my high school class if not THE MOST intelligent one! I was in awe of her knowledge of everything. We also were in German class together for many years. Even though we were not close friends in high school I was glad we became friends on Facebook and I was even able to attend one of her wonderful Christmas gatherings at her house. The world lost a wonderful person on July 19. My deepest condolences to you, Paul and to the extended family. I am sad I won't be able to attend her service in Sept. God received a wonderful angel and may she rest in peace. The world is a better place because she was in it. God bless you, Paul and keep you in his loving care as you mourn Kris's passing.

Penny Hatcher

August 9, 2018

I worked with Kris at the MN Dept of Health for over 14 years in Family/Community Health, including newborn hearing screening. Wow, Kris was a brilliant geneticist as well as a kind and happy lady.

I remember when she was showing us her wedding pictures and I said..hey, those people (Paul’s sister Kathy, her husband and 2 kids)..they are my moms next door neighbors! Thus I would see Kris, Paul and their big dogs often at Kathy’s house. What a small world.

Of course I regret not visiting Kris when she was ill though I kept informed by her sister in law. Prayers to Paul and the families at their loss of a great woman. Rest In Peace Kris.

Wendy Hellerstedt

July 23, 2018

Kristin and I met through work--I was at the University of MN and she was at MDH. We were "coffee friends" who saw one another every 6 months or so over the past 15 or so years. .My life was better for having known her. She was smart and curious. She shared her knowledge with grace, never condescension. She was grateful about so many things in life, but especially about having met Paul. She and I often talked about his talents as a chef and the deep comfort he gave her at home (with the kitties) or on the road during their travels. I am glad that I had maybe 30 coffee dates/meals with Kris. She and I laughed a lot when we visited; there is no laughter more beautiful or genuine than hers. She told me stories about her youth, the farm, and her beloved family. My heart goes out to her family members as they grieve. And when I think of Paul I can only think that he gave this lovely person so much joy, so much laughter. The two of them made a true home together and that is a mighty thing. I hope Paul finds strength knowing how much he made Kris smile.

Jeanne Carls

July 22, 2018

I would like to offer a tribute in honor of a wonderful friend and co-worker. I will always remember Kris for her incredible love of and devotion to Paul and her family. Kris was a very caring friend, had a wonderful smile and a melodic laugh. Kris and Paul were always so gracious and welcoming, the terrific patio parties and annual Christmas gatherings where it was fun to relax, enjoy each other's company and linger for a while.

I will also remember Kris for her brilliance as a geneticist - she was incredibly skilled as a speaker, taking a very technical topic and presenting the information in an interesting and very understandable way.

I have a very deep sense of loss for Paul, family and friends. Kris fought a valiant fight, remaining optimistic, and kept positive through her physical challenges. As a friend of mine put it - the world now has gained another angel. Paul and family members, may good memories and the support of family and friends surround you and comfort you at this time.