On September 21, 2018, Martin Alfred Krenzke, 86, beloved husband of Virginia Krenzke (nee: Gunter); devoted father of James Louis Krenzke, Patricia Ann Krenzke and her husband Michael Hall and Julie Lynne Krenzke; dear brother of Theodore Krenzke and his wife Helen; brother-in-law of Wade Ridley and Marlene Krenzke and loving grandfather of Megan Krenzke, Taylor Krenzke, Ashlyn Peterson and Michelle Krenzke.
Martin Alfred Krenzke was born July 1, 1932 in Albert Lea, Minnesota to the Reverend Theodore Krenzke and Esther Krenzke (nee Natzke). He grew up a Lutheran pastor’s son in farm country and small towns with his two brothers, Ted and Dick and his sister, Barb. He enjoyed his summers spent working at the Henning farm, fishing and playing sports. He attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota and then Valparaiso University in Indiana. Upon graduation with a degree in Civil Engineering Martin made the big move East in 1955 to go to work at the David Taylor Naval Research & Development Center in Carderock, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC where he would spend his entire 39-year career. The reserved transplant joined Christ Lutheran Church in Washington, DC and made many friends through the Walther League. His first cousin, Nancy Krenzke Warnke, from Racine, Wisconsin convinced him to go on a blind date with her co-worker at the World Bank, Virginia Gunter, who he would marry on April 11, 1959.
As Martin and Virginia started their family of a son and two daughters, Martin embarked on a remarkable career as a US Navy civilian – first as a research engineer in submarine structures, earning numerous patents and writing dozens of publications and later as senior management as a member of the Senior Executive Service. He travelled around the country and the world and established a working relationship with the noted French oceanographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, to include an intimate lunch on Cousteau’s research vessel, the Calypso. Martin’s accomplishments included the US Navy Superior Service Award, the David Taylor Award for Scientific Achievement and the Department of Defense’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award. In spite of this storied career, the brilliant researcher and respected executive was overtly humble and soft-spoken, closely guarding a low profile and promoting others while diminishing his own accolades and successes.
Martin and Virginia retired in February 1994 to a waterfront home on an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay just south of the mouth of the Potomac River in Reedville, Virginia. He bought a motor boat and made the transition from fresh water fishing to salt water fishing. Dear friends, Eddie and Irene Buchholz, Paul and Suzanne Rodgers and Marge Pulley all ended up with homes on the Northern Neck, too, so their social circle continued, just three hours south. They forged a new friendship with their next door neighbors, the Kings. Martin and Virginia continued their love of travel – with regular trips to Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah and notably, New Orleans, which they visited annually. The couple especially enjoyed periodic trips with his two brothers and sisters-in-law all over the Eastern United States, the last being to Traverse City, Michigan.
Martin loved spectator sports – with a special affinity for the Nationals and the Redskins. His excitement would mount at the beginning of every season, regardless of his team’s realistic prospects – as Virginia would always say ironically, “Hope Springs Eternal”. He loved staying abreast of the news, reading the Richmond and Washington papers from cover to cover every day. He would cut out articles that he thought his children would appreciate and mail them with little notes on them. Every weekend he would cut out the sports television schedules and meticulously map out his viewing plan. If a game wasn’t televised he would listen on a static-filled Washington AM radio station that nobody else could make out. Martin was passionate about tracking his investments and had a handwritten spreadsheet tracking weekly stock prices that stretched out for a couple of feet in width. In retirement he considered this portfolio management “his job”. That, and keeping his lawn looking sharp. When they moved to Warrenton in 2014 the first purchase he made was a John Deere lawn tractor – he was like a kid with a new toy and really enjoyed putting it to work.
Martin was a devoted husband. Virginia likes to say it was like hitting the lottery when she met him. He was a wonderful provider and faithful companion, even if he didn’t talk very much. He took great pleasure in buying flowers, cards and gifts for Virginia. They shared a blessed and full life together. He was a generous father and grandfather who savored time spent with his family. He had a sly sense of humor, enjoyed teasing and liked to tell a funny story. He was a man of quiet faith and humility that will be greatly missed by those who love him.
Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul rest in peace.
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