Rev. Richard Krenzke, former Human Care director, dies

The Rev. Richard L. Krenzke, who retired in 2000 as executive director of the Synod’s former Board for Human Care Ministries, died at his Altamont, Ill., home Dec. 15 after an illness. He was 79.



In lieu of a funeral and visitation, a private burial service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 27, at the Old Rost Township Cemetery near Lakefield, Minn. To share condolences, visit the website of the Howe and Yockey Funeral Home.

Krenzke had served with the Synod’s Board for Human Care Ministries (and its predecessor, the Board for Social Ministry Services) since 1986 — first, as associate director (until 1991); then for a year as interim executive director (until 1992); and for the next eight years as executive director. That global role blended his gifts in social work and ministry to serve those in need in the Americas, India, Hong Kong, China, Russia, Kenya, Rwanda and Liberia.

“Dick Krenzke embodied a personal graciousness and deeply genuine care for others that made him a wonderful colleague, respected leader and friend to me and to those around him. He set a tone for Human Care Ministries that made it a delightful place in which to work,” said the Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Hartung, a former coworker. “Without fanfare, he embodied the love of Christ whom he knew loved him.” Hartung, former director of LCMS Ministerial Health/Health and Healing Ministries, now is professor emeritus of Practical Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

In retirement, Krenzke served congregations, as needed, across south-central Illinois in part-time pastoral ministries.

Krenzke was a 1968 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, formerly at Springfield, Ill., and held a master’s degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. In addition to his 13 years as a parish pastor, he was a professor in the Department of Social Work at Valparaiso University; a caseworker at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota; and a branch-office director of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois.

According to his obituary, Krenzke “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.’

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Marlene; their children — John (Sara) Krenzke of Plainfield, Ind.; Liz Trost of Valley Park, Mo.; and Tom (Heidi) Krenzke of Odenton, Md. — seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren, as well as brothers Ted (Helen) Krenzke of Rice Lake, Wis., and Marty (Virginia) Krenzke of Warrenton, Va.

Memorials may be made to:

  • Northeast Community Fund, 825 N. Water St., Decatur, IL 62573.
  • International Social Services — USA, 200 E. Lexington St., Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202.
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, 700 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230.
  • Lutheran World Relief, 700 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230.

Posted Dec. 17, 2015

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3 Responses to Rev. Richard Krenzke, former Human Care director, dies

  1. Glenda & Don Holz December 22, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Dear Marlene and family. We are so sorry To hear of the death of Pastor Krenzke.
    We remember well the yeas he served at Trinity Lone Oak church and school. We wish you God’s peace and comfort at this sad time.

  2. Lizabeth (Zander) Striegel March 5, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Krenzke Family,
    My sincerest condolences on the passing of Dick. He was my caseworker and my first adult friend when I was a child of seven. He was a kind, compassionate and understanding man and he will always remain in my heart and memory. Peace to you and prayers sent.

    • Marlene Krenzke March 7, 2016 at 9:27 am #


      How very special to hear from you and sharing your kind memories of Dick. He would have been touched to tears with your message as I am. I do remember that we met somewhere in your adult life…but where we met, that is a bit foggy… was it by chance Wisconsin Dells?? (where we met is not so important as that we did meet.

      It has all been overwhelming as Dick was to have recovered but variables brought about death. He was coherent until death and continued to witness during his fight to recover. He was and remains the love of my life.

      It is my prayer that you are happy and well. I would love to hear an update of you and the Zander family.

      In Christ,
      Marlene Krenzke

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