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Richard L. Krenzke
(July 23, 1936 - December 15, 2015)

Richard Lewis Krenzke, 79, of Altamont, IL, formerly of Shelbyville, IL, died at 11:26 a.m. Tuesday, December 15, 2015 in his residence.

A memorial service of The Word and Song will celebrate his life at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 203 E. Division Street in Altamont, IL. Immediately following the memorial service, a lunch will be served in the Parish Hall. Sample photos of Dick entering lives of God’s people in our world will be displayed. Sharing moments of remembrances will be welcome.

As Jesus Christ’s example “I have come, that you may have life and have it to the full”, Dick was dedicated to a lifetime of service to Christ and others. He is recognized for his relentless efforts to help people living in poor and extreme conditions both in the U.S. and the world. Dick prepared for serving people by earning a Master’s degree in Social Ministry and in Theology.

Richard Lewis Krenzke was born July 23, 1936 in Albert Lea MN to Rev. Theodore and Esther (Natzke) Krenzke, and was baptized as a child of God on August 9, 1936. As a youngster and through his life, Dick was filled with spirit and tended to roam. Strong Christian values, work ethic, and community were instilled through 1940s rural life in a pastor’s family.

Dick graduated from Windom (MN) High School, enlisted in the army, and was engaged to marry Marlene Ackerman – all during the summer of 1954. Dick served in the Korean War from 1954—1956. Dick married Marlene on July 15, 1956, committing their life-long partnership in parenting and ministry to their wedding text: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15.

Dick received his undergraduate degree at Mankato State University and his Master’s degree in social work at University of Chicago. Early in his social work career, Dick’s pastors were strong mentors that influenced his enrollment at Concordia Seminary, Springfield IL (MDiv 1968).
After seminary, Dick continued his social ministry as professor at Valparaiso University and at Lutheran Child and Family Services in Belleville IL. As parish pastor, Dick served Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church in Eagan MN and St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Winona MN. In 1986, Dick was called to a global role in Human Care Ministry for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in St. Louis MO which blended Dick’s gifts in social work and ministry to serve those in need in the Americas, India, Hong Kong, China, Russia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Liberia. In retirement, Dick fished and served congregations across south-central Illinois.

He firmly believed in the words of Jesus: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” John 10:10; and in St. Paul’s words: “For me to live is Christ, to die is GAIN.” Dick loved Marlene – his wife and partner in life for over 59 years, his family and friends, fishing, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Survivors include his wife Marlene, brothers Ted (Helen) Krenzke of Rice Lake, WI and Marty (Virginia) Krenzke of Warrenton, VA, son John (Sara) Krenzke of Plainfield, IN, daughter Liz Trost of Valley Park, MO, son Tom (Heidi) Krenzke of Odenton, MD, 7 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Barbara Wyatt.

Graveside services were held in Old Rost Township Cemetery, near Lakefield, MN, with Rev. David Natzke officiating. Arrangements are by Howe and Yockey Funeral Home, Shelbyville, IL. Memorials can be given to: Northeast Community Fund, 825 North Water St., Decatur IL62573; International Social Services – USA (ISS-USA),200 E. Lexington St., Suite 1700, Baltimore MD 21202; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), 700 Light St.,Baltimore MD 21230; Lutheran World Relief (LWR), 700 Light St., Baltimore MD 21230.

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