Cover photo for James (Jim) Thomas Kienle's Obituary
James (Jim) Thomas Kienle Profile Photo
1942 James 2022

James (Jim) Thomas Kienle

September 4, 1942 — December 7, 2022

Indianapolis, Indiana

On December 7th, surrounded by loved ones, a good man passed away. He was a man of many passions. He loved cooking and enjoying meals with friends and family. He loved watching sports and was an ardent The Ohio State University football fan. He loved architecture, historic preservation, and the city of Indianapolis. More importantly, he loved being a friend, mentor, partner and father.

James (Jim) Thomas Kienle, late of Indianapolis, IN, was born in Columbus, OH, on September 4, 1942. He was the oldest of eight children of Lawrence Kienle II and Miriam (nee Willoughby). Because he was born before World War II, and his father served in the US Air Force, he was six years older than the next child and was as much a parent as he was a sibling to the others. He was raised in the Franklinton area of Columbus, lovingly referred to as “The Bottoms,” where he attended Holy Family Grade School and St. Thomas Aquinas High School. In 1967 he graduated with a degree in architecture from The Ohio State University. He was awarded the Alumnus of the Year for Career Development from the College of Engineering’s Knowlton School of Architecture at OSU in 2020.

Jim practiced architecture for more than fifty years and was still working as a consultant when he passed. He started his career working for Granzow & Guss in Columbus, OH. After practicing in Pennsylvania and Washington DC, he returned to the Midwest to be a principle in Archonics Design Partnership—a practice described by those who worked there as Camelot. Jim took great pride in mentoring younger architects and fostering their unique abilities. He enjoyed collaborating on projects and considered his closest collaborators to be family as much as friends.

Throughout the years, he worked with colleagues and clients to bring new life to historic structures, college campuses, and urban environments while acting in leadership roles at several architectural firms including HNTB, Moody Nolan, and James T. Kienle & Associates. Some of his most notable civic projects include the Kentucky and Indiana State Capitol Masterplans, Indiana Government Center South Building, and the Old Executive Office Building in Washington D.C. Jim also loved adapted use of historic train stations. Important projects included L&N Depot, Bowling Green, KY, B&O Depot, Grafton, WV, and the Big 4, Layfette, IN. He also specialized in renovating historic theaters, including The Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis, University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Theaters, and The Lerner Theatre & Conference Center in Elkhart, IN. Jim also took the design lead on key new structures including the National Advocacy Center at the University of South Carolina and the Georgetown College Library and the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Building in Georgetown, KY.

Nationally recognized for his contribution to the field, he had a passion for preservation architecture and was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) College of Fellows in 2004. Jim was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash for his pioneering work in preservation. As an acclaimed architect, civic leader, advocate for the architectural profession, he received many awards from Indiana’s chapter of the AIA including the Gold Medal, Edward D. Pierre Award, Juliet Peddle Award, and the President’s Award. Although he was a celebrated architect, he prided himself on being humble, curious, and generous with his time and talents.

At the local and national level, Jim was committed to service and civic leadership. For twenty-five years, twelve as President, he served on the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission. He was on the boards and committees of several non-profit organizations including Preservation Action of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Indiana Landmarks, and City of Indianapolis’s Urban Design Oversight Committee. Additionally, he was the president of the Indiana German Heritage Society, a board member of the The American Red Cross – Greater Indianapolis, a Rotarian in the Downtown Indianapolis Rotary Club, and a graduate of Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.

Jim was integral to downtown Indy’s redevelopment, the emergence of its historic neighborhoods, and its transformation into a major metropolitan hub. From the renovation of his 1872 Victorian cottage in Lockerbie Square to the on-going preservation of his local parish of St. Mary Catholic Church, his commitment to downtown was personal.

He and his wife Marjorie were always a team. While raising two children, they worked to revitalize Lockerbie Square along with the other pioneering neighbors. In addition to renovating historic homes, Jim also designed neighborhood landmarks such as the Lockerbie Glove Condos and the Educational Center that the James Whitcomb Riley House Museum. Beloved by those in the neighborhood, Jim was known for his easy smile and chats with friends during his long walks. He had a great laugh and wonderful sense of humor. He loved a good party and Christmas was his favorite time of year. He and Marjorie were married during Advent and he passed away ten days before their 56th wedding anniversary.

Jim Kienle was preceded in death by his father Lawrence R. Kienle II, mother Miriam D. Kienle, and brother Lawrence R. Kienle III. He is survived by his wife Marjorie Kienle, daughter Miriam E. Kienle (John Harlan Norris), son James Andrew Kienle (Jenna), and step-grandson Conrad Gehlhausen. He is also survived by his sisters Patricia Billingsley, Mary Ann Graue (William), Angela Smith (Rex), Cindy Sheets (David), and Jane Kienle (Dean Bramlett), his brother Peter Kienle (Cindy Long), and his sister-in-law Mary Ann Melvin. Additionally, he is survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

The calling with be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, from 4-8pm at Flanner Buchanan-Broad Ripple 1305 Broad Ripple Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46220. The funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 11am at St. Mary’s Catholic Church 317 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, preceded by a calling at 10am at the Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary’s Church in Indianapolis and the James and Marjorie Kienle Scholarship Fund at The OSU’s Knowlton School of Architecture.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James (Jim) Thomas Kienle, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

10:00 - 11:00am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

11:00 - 11:00am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 23

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree