Henry Albert Tienken was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 7, 1887, the third of five children. He attended New York University, graduating in 1909 with a degree of bachelor of commercial studies. While in school, he founded Delta Sigma Pi along with three of his classmates
From 1910 to 1918, Tienken worked as an accountant for an American oil company in Argentina, after which he founded Weiss and Tienken, a lumber farm in Chile. In June of 1919, he returned for a six-month visit to the United States, his only and last trip to his homeland. It is believed that during that visit he was in contact with one of the other founders of Delta Sigma Pi.
After closing his lumber company, Tienken worked in the oil industry in Argentina, with a railroad firm in Bolivia, in the nitrate industry in Chile, and as an accountant for the Huanchaca Tin Mines in Bolivia. He also undertook mercury mining on his own in Bolivia, although the venture proved risky. In September, 1944, Tienken joined the Rubber Development Corporation, a U.S. Government Agency, serving in Bolivia and Brazil. When the R.D.C. closed in 1948, Tienken was offered a return trip to the United States, but he remained in South America to stay close to his children, including George, a Deltasig initiate at Kappa in 1970.
Tienken died and was buried in Oruro, Bolivia, January 18, 1949.
Tienken was greatly respected, leading a simple life and remaining confident and pleasant in spite of often difficult circumstances. To him, the great gifts in life were trust in God, and physical, mental and moral strength and health.