ARNHEIM - James John Krenek, 70, of Arnheim, passed away suddenly Friday, June 7, 2013 at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich. He was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on November 29, 1942 to Irwin and Irene (Guzikowski) Krenek.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1965 with a degree in Agriculture and Biological Science and began his teaching career in science and vocational agriculture for the Oconto and Coleman, Wis., schools. In 1973 he was appointed Michigan State University Extension Director for Baraga County, serving jointly as Baraga County Fair Manager until his retirement in 1996. He and his family were also partners in the Lake Superior Tree Farm and Nursery.
He served as the Upper Peninsula Program Director for the Council of Michigan Foundations and with the Baraga County Community Foundation from 1996-2000. From 2000 until 2002, he was employed as a grantwriter at Finlandia University in Hancock and later became a marketing consultant for Michigan Food and Farming Systems at Michigan State University from 2005-2008.
Jim was a volunteer and board member for numerous charitable organizations in the Upper Peninsula and the Lansing area throughout his lifetime. He traveled to Costa Rica, Belize, and Armenia, where he was engaged in international agricultural development. At the time of his death he was serving on the Upper Peninsula State Fair Authority, assisting applicants for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grants, and was faculty emeritus for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University.
He loved to teach and considered it his mission in life. He was always ready to answer questions and lend a helping hand to anyone who asked. He enjoyed reading, gardening, fishing, hunting, photography, and was especially fulfilled spending time outdoors in nature. His greatest joy was spending time with his family and loved ones.
Mr. Krenek is survived by his sons, John (Jeanne) Krenek of Engadine, Mich., Steven (Veronica) Krenek of Suamico, Wis., and David (Charla) Krenek of Escanaba; grandchildren, Kathleen, Duane, Derek, Cassandra, Adam, Julie, and Andrew; sister, Eileen Medrow of Milwaukee, Wis.; and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his former spouses, Michelle Brychta of Chassell, and Beth Krenek of Lansing.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services for Mr. Krenek will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2013, in the Reid Funeral Service and Chapel, L'Anse with Father John Longbucco officiating. The family will greet friends at the funeral chapel on Friday from 11 a.m. until the time of the service. Following the funeral service, the family invites friends to join them for fellowship and a luncheon in the Harrington Gathering Room, located at the funeral chapel.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy the family suggests memorials in Mr. Krenek's honor to be directed to American Red Cross or St. Vincent DePaul. Envelopes will be available at the funeral chapel.
Mr. Krenek's obituary may also be viewed and online condolences sent to the family at rfsc.net.
The Reid Funeral Service and Chapel, L'Anse has been entrusted with the arrangements.