George “Kirk” Greiner Jr

CAPTAIN GEORGE KIRK GREINER JR, USCG RETIRED  8/30/1931 – 1/02/2020

Captain George “Kirk” Greiner, of Edmonds Washington, died peacefully surrounded by his family on January 2, 2020. He was born in Philadelphia, PA on August 30, 1931, the son of the late George Kirk Greiner Sr. and the late Elizabeth Maynard Greiner. He is survived by his wife, Jeannette (Jackie) Cyphers Greiner, brother Lee Greiner Sr., son Kirk Greiner 3rd, daughter Kim Afflerbach, daughter-in-law Lisa Greiner, son-in-law David Afflerbach, grandchildren Jamie Montgomery, Alexandra Greiner, Kirk Greiner 4th, Adrienne Afflerbach and Cole Greiner.

At a young age he and his family moved from Lansdowne, PA to what he would consider his hometown of Westport, CT where he attended public school and was raised on the waters of Long Island Sound. During his high school years, he operated yachts as a paid skipper, owned and operated a ski boat and raced sailing boats. After graduating from high school, he attended and graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree of science in engineering. 

His career of 29 years in the Coast Guard included assignments on both coasts. His first tour of duty was at the US Coast Guard station on Governers Island in New York City from 1953 to 1956 as a deck and engineering watch officer on two of the Service’s 327 foot cutters, the Campbell and the Spencer. In 1956 he received his first promotion to Lieutenant JG and his first command as the Commanding Officer of the Cape Sarichef LORAN station on Unimak Island in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain.  In 1957 he was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to Alameda, CA where he served as the Base Engineer and Industrial Manager for Base Alameda from 1957 to 1958. He returned to New York City as a Marine Inspector and Casualty Investigator from 1958 to 1962 where he also celebrated the birth of his two children Kirk 3rd and Kim with his first wife, June Greiner. After his tour in New York, he returned to Alaska as a Senior Merchant Marine Inspector and casualty investigator in Juneau, AK from 1962 to 1965. In 1963 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Upon completing his Alaska tour, he was transferred back to base Alameda in the summer of 1965 where he served as the Chief Engineer aboard the USCGC Taney from 1965 to 1967. Following his tour in Alameda, CA, he was promoted to Commander and, along with his family, once again trekked across the country to his new assignment in Yorktown, VA as the Officer in Charge and instructor of the Coast Guard’s merchant marine safety school from 1967 to 1968. In 1968 he was re-assigned to the position of Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown. In 1970 then Commander Greiner was transferred to Seattle, WA, where he served as a Marine Inspector from 1970 to 1975. During his tour in Seattle, his investigative work on several vessel casualties led to an interest in maritime law. In 1973 he began planting the seeds for his next career by taking night school courses at the University of Puget Sound Law School (now Seattle University School of Law) in pursuit of a legal degree. During the summer of 1974, he was promoted to the highest rank he would achieve in the Coast Guard, the rank of Captain. Being a follower of Star Trek, the title suited him and he was pleased to be referred to on occasion as Captain Kirk. After completing his tour in Seattle, Captain Greiner was transferred to Coast Guard headquarters in Washington D.C. where he served as the Executive Secretary of the Marine Safety Council from 1975 to 1978. During his tenure in Washington D.C. he continued his law studies at Georgetown University. In 1977 he completed his legal education, transferring his credits to the University of Puget Sound where he graduated and received his Juris Doctorate degree. In 1978, Captain Greiner was assigned to his last tour of duty as the Commanding Officer of the US Coast Guard Station Portland, OR where he led the Coast Guard’s oversight and management of all navigable waters in Oregon and Southwest Washington from 1978 to 1982. One of the notable events during his tour was the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. The eruption caused the complete closure of the Columbia River at Longview, WA due to the filling of the river with volcanic ash, mud and debris that reduced the depth of the river from 40 feet to only 14 feet.

In the summer of 1982 Captain Greiner retired from the Coast Guard. However, not being the retiring kind, he started a maritime consulting business where he became internationally known providing marine safety expertise both as an advisor and an expert witness. Over the course of the next 30  years Captain Greiner investigated and consulted on a number of maritime casualties, the largest of which was the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Captain Greiner was hired by the State of Alaska to reconstruct the vessel’s trackline leading up to the grounding and identify the vessel’s location when specific events occurred. He also testified on behalf of the State in criminal proceedings against the master of the vessel. 

Kirk enjoyed all things nautical and continued pursuing his study of maritime law, marine safety and the sea for his entire life. He was also an active member of several local and national organizations working to better his community and both the maritime and legal professions he loved. During his consulting career, his memberships included the Washington State Bar Association, The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, The American Boat and Yacht Council and the Pacific Northwest Fishing Vessel Owner’s Association. Within his local community he was active on several Boards with the City of Edmonds, and a member of the Lynnwood, WA chapter of Rotary International.  He was a member of the Rotary Recreational Vehicle Fellowship for many years and enjoyed traveling with that group. He was also a proud member of the Coast Guard Class of 1953.

Kirk and his wife Jackie were married in 2002 and were frequent travelers to all points of the globe during their marriage. In addition to travel, Kirk enjoyed chartering yachts with his family, cruising Washington’s San Juan Islands and British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. Most recently he relished taking trips to Southern California where his love of boating could be shared with his daughter Kim and her husband who had recently purchased their first yacht. 

He requested no services.  Kirk’s ashes will be interred in the columbarium at the U S Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT.  A memorial/celebration of life is expected to be scheduled there at the time of interment this summer. Memorial contributions may be made to the U S Coast Guard Academy,  Class of 1953 Fund, 47 Mohegan Ave, New London, CT 06320.

His wife Jackie can be reached at jacyphers@gmail.com, PO Box 908, Edmonds, WA 98020-0908 or 110 Main St #203, Edmonds, WA 98020.  

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