By Reporter staff
MENDOTA – In most cases, it would be easy to say that someone that lived well into their 90s had lived a complete and accomplished life. For Dr. Robert “Doc” Krenz Sr., there is no doubt that the contributions he made and achievements he attained were enough to fill up two lifetimes.
Krenz, affectionately known as just “Doc,” passed away on July 6 with his loving family by his side, 10 days shy of his 98th birthday.
Krenz was born in Mendota in 1923 and it didn’t take long for him to show his leadership skills. As a first-grader in 1930, Krenz led the pledge of allegiance during the dedication of Lincoln School. At Mendota High School, he excelled in the classroom and also on the playing field as a member of the football and basketball teams.
Several weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Krenz enlisted in the Army and trained as a trauma/combat medic in Denver, Colo. He attended several colleges and received his DDS degree from the University of Nebraska. He re-enlisted in the Army and served at several hospitals, and then after an internship and residency, he returned to his hometown to practice dentistry in 1950-51. Still feeling a need to serve his country, Krenz re-enlisted in the service again as an Air Force Reserve during the Korean Conflict.
He loved dentistry and believed in being a continuous student. He was a member of numerous dental organizations and societies.
Krenz was also a pillar of the community where he was born and raised. He was a founding member of the Jr. Chamber of Commerce in 1952, was a member of the American Legion Post #540 for 75 years, the Mendota Lions Club for 67 years and was a lifetime member of the Mendota Elks Lodge #1212. Additionally, he was a 65-year 32nd Degree Mason of the Masonic Fraternity. Also, he helped establish the Mendota Jaycees and was a long-time member of the Mendota Museum & Historical Society.
Krenz was a staunch supporter of Nebraska and Western Illinois athletics, as well as his beloved Mendota Trojans. When there was an MHS sporting event, Krenz was usually in attendance.
“On behalf of MHS, we wish to send our sympathies to the family of Dr. Krenz,” said Jeff Prusator, MHS superintendent. “Over my years at MHS, Dr. Krenz has been one of the most dedicated and loyal supporters of MHS athletics. We appreciate his unwavering support for our athletes over the past several decades. Dr. Krenz was a fixture at MHS and will be missed by many.”
Krenz was also a dedicated member of the Mendota Lions Club, rarely missing a meeting and volunteering his time in the corn dog stand and at fish fries over the years.
Several fellow Lions Club members and friends fondly remember Doc Krenz for all he did for the Lions Club and the community as a whole.
“What a reservoir of knowledge,” said Greg Gromann. “He had such wisdom and was willing to share it.
“One memory I can share is he told me that he would tell his new employees to make sure that they saved at least 10% of their paycheck and to invest it. His investment advice was simple too – just buy the S&P index, and you will make out just fine.”
“Dr. Robert Bob “Doc” Krenz was a historian of knowledge about Mendota in general, including local sports, Western Illinois University and the University of Nebraska sports,” said Todd Phalen. “He was a 60+ year member of the Mendota Lions Club and knew what it meant to be a Lions Club member both locally and internationally. He wasn’t afraid to tell new members or young people who represented the Lions Club, what the Lions Club was all about.
“He never met a stranger and seemed to know something about everything. He will be greatly missed not only by his family and friends, but the community as a whole. He embodied what it was to be ‘from Mendota’ and what it was to be a Mendota Lion as an Ambassador of both. Everyone always enjoyed hearing his stories and the knowledge he shared with you.”
Betsy Westrick, current Lions Club secretary, said, “As a person, Doc Krenz was always loved and respected. He was attentive, kind, honest, involved and was someone who always made the next guy chuckle about something.
“Doc motivated others simply by being himself. He had a memory like a steel trap, and was wonderful about sharing his knowledge. As a Lion, Doc was himself…loved, respected, attentive, kind, honest, involved and always made us chuckle. I guess that’s what ‘being true to yourself’ means. He will be missed by many, but never forgotten.”
Condolences may be left at wasmerfuneralhome.com.