Melvin Richard Krienke, 91, of Osseo, Wisconsin, died Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at his home surrounded by his loved ones.
Melvin was born September 24, 1929, to Reinhard and Selma (Schumacher) Krienke, on a farm in Otter Creek Township, Eau Claire County. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Foster. As an adult, he became an active member of Osseo Evangelical Lutheran Church. He lived his faith every day. Mel graduated from Lincoln Hill High School in Osseo in 1947. Mel married Dona Lowe on March 10, 1951, at Fort Hood, Texas, where he was stationed in the U.S. Army before being sent to duty in Germany. Thus, Mel went to join Dona in heaven on their 70th wedding anniversary. Together they had three children—Kathy, Ron, and Steve. Mel was a loving husband, father, grandpa, son, and uncle. Mel had a strong work ethic and was respected for it from the time of working as a young man to help support his family when his father became disabled by illness, and through his years as a laborer, entrepreneur, and small business owner. The local police officer trusted him with a driver’s license at the age of fourteen so he could drive for his family. He worked as a farmhand, set pins at the bowling alley, oversaw the eggs through the night at the local hatchery, raised prize-winning rabbits, and still had exemplary attendance at school where he also enjoyed sports. By the age of eighteen, he was employed as the foreman of his silo crew, and the boss selected him to have the first new company truck to take on the road across the state to build larger silos for the Osseo Silo Company. In 1960, Mel went into business with Chuck Rongstad to own and operate the Gambles Hardware Store. The two of them also had a HVAC business, appliance sales and repair, and LP gas delivery. They later relocated their business to the bigger building across the street and became the Hardware Hank Store.
After retirement, Mel went to work with Dona in her business, Dona’s Ethnic Crafts, which they operated together until2001. For many years they spent their winter months in Fort Myers, Florida, where they usually set up a shop so they could work and play. Mel was a handyman and creative in problem-solving, so he could fix most anything. He could have been credited with inventing the first satellite dish if he had only patented his silo roof in the attic wired to the TV to bring in much improved reception. Mel was an avid sports fan. He enjoyed golfing and was a very talented bowler. He followed and supported the local sports teams and the Badgers, Brewers, and Green Bay Packers. He instilled that joy in his kids and grandkids.
Mel was involved in community service in many ways. He was active in the American Legion where he once served as Commander. He was also active in Commercial Club, fundraising for the building of the Osseo Community Hospital and Nursing Home, serving on the committee to plan for a new swimming pool for the park, helping put in the sprinkler system on hole #9 of the Osseo Golf Course, downtown development and promotion, and many more projects. He was a volunteer fireman and volunteered to take turns manning the civil defense tower atop City Hall.
Melvin is survived by his daughter Kathy (Randy) Rosenberg of Winona, MN, and his sons Ron (Linda) Krienke of Eau Claire, and Steve of Osseo. He is further survived by his grandchildren Joe (Stephanie Thompson) Krienke, Bethany (Nathan) Walker, Ryan Rosenberg, Kaiya (Jeff) Grabau, Samantha Krienke (Alex), and great-grandchildren Joshua and Emma Krienke, Lillian, Maria, and Aaron Walker, Elizabeth Grabau,Owen and Liam Rosenberg, and Kaylee. Mel was preceded in death by his parents, his only sister Doreen Nelson, and his beloved wife Dona.
The memorial service for Mel will be held at Osseo Evangelical Lutheran Church, on Saturday, March 20, 2021. Visitation will be at the church at 10:00 a.m., and the funeral to follow at 11:00, with Pastor Terry Lorenz officiating. Burial will follow with military honors at the Osseo Cemetery.
Due to Covid restrictions we respectfully request only adults attend the visitation and service. Masks and social distancing are required.
No food will be served.
Livestreaming of the service will take place at www.oelc.org and be available for two weeks.
The family suggests that memorials be to the Osseo Cemetery.