Joseph Kirchner

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Anchorage resident Joseph Francis Kirchner, 62, died Wednesday at Providence Medical Center with his family at his side. After receiving a lung transplant three years ago, he succumbed to recent complications.

Joe was a petroleum geophysicist and his 32-year career in the oil industry took him across the globe. He was Exploration Manger of the Black Sea Area, Asset Manager for Turkey, and Alaska Exploration Manager for BP. After his retirement from BP he was a senior consultant in the Anchorage office of the

international engineering firm Golder Associates.

Joe was born in Woodbury, N.J., to Helen Kelsey and John Philip Kirchner, and grew up in the Philadelphia area. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh and his Masters in geophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he met his future wife, Ellen Altschuler. His graduate studies took him to the Antarctic under the auspices of the National Science Foundation.

Joe married Ellen in New York City in 1978. The couple moved to Houston where their three children were born. After several years in the UK, the family moved to Alaska, where they have resided for nearly 20 years.

Joe was an active community member, serving on the Anchorage Concert Association board for many years, including two terms as president. He was an avid reader, traveler, sports fan, and enjoyed sharing his gourmet creations and single-malt scotch whiskeys with friends. He was also a lover of many styles of music and the arts. As a dedicated father and husband, his favorite pastime was following and supporting the lives of his family.

Friends and family will remember him as an extremely kind, genuine, and humble man with a big smile and a goofy sense of humor.

Joe is survived by his wife, Ellen; his three children, Carolyn, Robert and Brian; and his two brothers, Phil and Stephen Kirchner. A memorial service will be held at Congregation Beth Sholom, 7525 E. Northern Lights Blvd., on Sunday at noon. He will be buried at Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family asks you to consider being an organ donor. And in lieu of flowers, a donation to the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis ( or would be welcomed.

Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22, 2013
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