Fredrick A. (Fred) Krebs

Fredrick A. (Fred) Krebs, passed from this life on December 28, 2012.


He joins his wife Barbara and his father Albert D. Krebs who preceded him in death.  Fred leaves a daughter, Kandi;  granddaughter  Aaryn Krebs; mother Virginia; brothers  Jim and Debbie, Jeff,   and Bill and Cindy; nieces, Allison, Kaitlyn, Emily, Meg, and Betsy; Mike and Marybeth Blake,  Steve and Helen Blake; and numerous cousins and distant relatives. 


He was born on August 31, 1946, in Roeland Park, Kansas.   He attended Merriam Elementary, Hocker Grove Middle School, and Shawnee Mission North, where he was a member of the Quill & Scroll Society, National Honor Society, Debate and Chess Clubs.  He was finalist for a Rhodes Scholar and a member of the OWL Society while at the University of Kansas.  Fred graduated from Kansas University, and then received a M.A. from UMKC.  Fred was one of the first professors to join the staff at JCCC where he continued to teach humanities and social studies until his death.  He embellished his teaching with portrayals of historical characters in costume including Galileo, Christopher Columbus, his most cherished Ben Franklin, William Allen White, Huey Long and many other characters. 


Fred has been a lifeguard, Red Cross instructor, swimming coach, and Boy Scout Leader. Fred was an Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow, and received the Silver Beaver Award from the Mic O Say Council.  He was recognized for his troop receiving 20 Eagle Scout awards. As history professor at Johnson County Community College, he was given Distinguished Status in 1988. He started the Honors Program at the College. He was on the sponsoring committee for the Dead Seas Scrolls Exhibit in Kansas City.  He has received the Kansas Humanities Council Award for connecting people and ideas for over 25 years. His work with the Johnson County Christmas Bureau has included hundreds of hours of volunteer work. He is an Institutional Sponsor of Cub Scout Pack 3269 in Overland Park.  Fred is a member of the Kansas Historical Society. He is also been an advisor to the Johnson County Museum. He is a member of the JCCC Speakers Bureau and has 20 speaking engagements a year.


Fred has received many recognitions and awards at the state and national levels for his work with the Kansas and Nebraska Humanities Councils and Chautauqua programs in over 23 states.  Fred was a prolific public speaker on a wide range of subjects including Women in American History, African-American History, foreign policy, arts, literature, and film studies.  His awards include the 1997 Kansas Humanities Award for connecting people and ideas in Kansas, The Governor’s Humanist Award, The Liberty Bell Award from the Johnson County Bar Association, in 2001 the Sons of The American Revolution named him Patriot of the Year. Ingram’s Magazine named Fred an Icon of Education in 2012. He was a Mason and Rotarian. Fred’s passion in life was community service; from breathing life into his historical characters to his involvement in Rotary.  Fred found Rotary as a result of a Rotary Exchange Program with India where Fred was hooked on the gift of Rotary. He was a member of the Shawnee Mission Rotary Club and became its President in 1992-93.  From there Fred served Rotary District 5710 as Chair of many committees, Governor in 1996-97 and District Trainer and Historian. Fred was a founding member of the Paul Harris Society, Charter Member of the District Alumni Association. He has received every honor Rotary bestows on Rotarians including the Service Above Self, its highest award.  Fred was a Major Donor to the Rotary Foundation.  


Memorial Services


Memorial Services will be held Saturday, 3:00 p.m., January 5, 2013,  at the Johnson County Community College, Carlsen  Center in the Polsky Theater. 


Memorial Contributions


Contributions can be made to:



Rotary Foundation

14280 Collections Center Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60693 




Johnson County Community College Foundation

 207 Carlsen Center

12345 College Boulevard

Overland Park, Kansas 66210-1299




Johnson County Library Foundation

P. O. Box 2933

Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66203-1333





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Posted in Obituaries | on Saturday, Dec. 29th 2012 | 50 Comments »

50 Comments on “Fredrick A. (Fred) Krebs”

  1. Charles Bishop Says:

    By almost any measure, Fred Krebs was the most learned member of the JCCC faculty. From his book collection that threatened to smother him in an avalanche of book cases and the printed word to his appearance on the television program Jeopardy, Fred taught his classes, traveled across the country bringing “History Alive” through his many re-enactments and yet never embarrassed his colleagues with the depth of his learning. He only wanted us to share his passions and his love of learning,reading, discussing the great ideas of Western and Eastern civilization along with the intricacies of baseball. He was truly a community historian.

  2. Cameron Fletcher Says:

    Fred Krebs was one of, if not the best professors I ever had. I remember the last conversation I had with him in a chance encounter in the halls of the college, about a year after I had taken his World History course. He greeted me by name, asked me how I was doing and if I was still writing for the campus paper (I wasn’t by that time). Then he and I talked about the Royals for a few minutes and said our goodbyes. How many professors would take the time to remember the name of one of his students and ask such direct questions about his personal life? And I know I was one of thousands of students he had through the years. It speaks volumes to the character of the man. He was more than just a professor, he was a great man and will be missed. I regret having not kept in touch with him as often as I should. Thank you Professor Krebs for everything.

  3. Anna Page Says:

    I had the pleasure of having an office next to Fred’s for several years. He was such a delight. Always ready with conversation and his passion for the College was so evident. He was definitely an icon and will be missed. My condolences to Kandi and Aaryn.

  4. Christine (Anderson Godin) Crowley Says:

    Virginia and Krebs family, I am so sorry for your loss. Fred was the consummate teacher and will be missed by JCCC students, faculty and staff. He raised the bar for all of them. You can be proud of his legacy.

  5. Clyde Toland Says:

    My wife Nancy and I extend our deepest sympathy to all members of the Krebs family on their great loss. Fred and I had been friends for 47 years (ever since my freshman year at KU). He was an essential part of the 20 year success of the annual Buster Keaton Celebration here in Iola, Kansas. His passion for community service was evident in his learned work for this humanities event. He and I also shared a passion for the good that Rotary can do in this world, and he successfully took on the challenge of serving as a Rotary District Governor, a huge job which he handled with enthusiasm. Fred’s death is a great loss not only for his family and friends, but also for the larger world which will no longer benefit from his vast knowledge which he so generously shared.

  6. Helen Stenson Arnold Says:

    As one of the first students at JCCC in 1969, I was part of the student government as the editor of the yearbook the Southwind Review. Fred was our Faculty sponsor. Fred’s input on the name of the yearbook and the history of the founding of JCCC was invaluable to this young lady just starting out her college career. I have fond memories of Fred, he just loved what he was doing and wanted everyone to catch his love of learning. I also enjoyed getting to know his mother, Virginia as well; I could tell that she was his inspiration for all that he did in life. I am sorry for your loss, I know he will be missed by many and he has inspired many as well, so he will live on. Sincerely, Helen Stenson Arnold

  7. Dwight Check Says:

    Virginia, I’m so sad to hear of your families loss. Always had great, great, respect for Fred. He was very kind to me in High School. He will be missed by many. God be with you all. Dwight Check

  8. William E. Wagner M. D. Says:

    I was saddened to hear of the passing of my old college roommate, Fred (Boris) Krebs. I last saw Fred six or seven years ago when he came to Las Vegas to present a program about the man who built Hoover Dam. I will miss him greatly.

  9. David A. Klassen Says:

    I was Fred’s neibor and later found that he was in my father’s class at Shawnee Mission North in the mid 60’s. He told me of the material that he was told to study while in his class. Later he told me that my father was one of the reasons he went into teaching and gave me a few of his books that were required reading in his class. How he remembered I will never know.
    Fred was a walking historian. He could tell you what and where and give you reasons as to why. His appeciation of history and the Social Arts will be missed by a society that needed him most. Farewell my friend and God Bless, heaven has a new historian!

  10. Sondra Jay Says:

    Virginia and Krebs family: So sorry for your loss. I worked at JCCC at the old Merriam Grade School in the Word Production Center. I admired both of your and read often of Fred’s accomplishments. My deepest sympathy.

  11. Susan Raines Says:

    To Fred Kreb’s family and friends: So sorry to hear of Fred’s passing. He was such a kind and intelligent man. I met him through the Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola. I know he will be missed. Susan Raines, Executive Director, Bowlus Fine Arts Center.

  12. Susan Davis Says:

    I worked for Fred at the Merriam Pool as did two of my siblings. I didn’t know him as an academic but he was great to work for. Condolences from the Orloffs.

  13. Susan Kemmerer Says:

    I am very saddened with this news of Fred’s passing. I helped Fred through the years with his fsa medical benefit claims. He was always a delight to talk with and he shared many personal conversations about his daughter and granddaughter. He will be greatly missed. A very fine man.

  14. Greg Musil Says:

    Family, Our community has lost a great, great man — a friend of teaching, a supporter of curiosity, an advocate for life-long learning, a mentor and a leader. The story of Fred’s life should serve as inspiration to all of us to do more, to do it better and to do it with compassion and a smile. My sympathies at your loss, and a grief we all share.

  15. beverly mack Says:

    Although I did not know Fred personally, I had the pleasure of being in the 2007 Chautauqua audience, and hearing Fred’s channeling of William Allen White, an unforgettable experience. Fred’s talents and contagious love of history will be missed. My deepest sympathies to all his family.

  16. Laurie Hughes, Las Vegas NV Says:

    To: Virginia, Jimmy, Jeff and Bill. My thoughts and prayers are with you. We grew up on our little secret corner of Merriam and share so many memories. I always admired Fred and his ability to bring history to life. He also played a good game of chess, when we could break him away from his reading of books. He will be missed by all.

  17. Fred's Chautauqua Sisters Says:

    Fred was such a dear person. If there was a mean bone in his body we never saw it living near each other for weeks at a time with KHC Chautauqua. He inspired us to aspire to his largeness of spirit. It was a compliment when he called us for advice because that meant that we really were his Chautauqua sisters. And now it is a blow to know that he is gone. To his family and JCCC and Rotary, that he talked about so movingly, our sympathy. Joyce and Ann

  18. Dee Stuart Says:

    Fred presented numerous programs in the 11 years of our Park City Alive! Humanities Series, both in character and as the character who was Fred Krebs. He spent the night with us in November following a scare in bad weather on the turnpike, and he was as delightful in our home as he was in our library. He will be missed by many here in Park City.

  19. Anna & Virgil Wilhelm Says:

    Our Jackson County Historical Society was privileged to have Mr. Krebs make three presentations for us over the years: Ben Franklin; William Allen White; and, most recently, a topic dear to his heart: the history of baseball. We will miss him deeply. He was always a delight.

  20. Donna Bishop Shannon Says:

    My sympathy and prayers to his family and friends in dealing with this loss. I remember Fred as a bright and warm individual who shared that warmth with everyone.

  21. Rich Hankison Says:

    I first met Fred in 1996 when I joined Shawnee Mission Rotary. He was my friend and I was his. I never attended one of his classes or lectures, but I learned quite a lot from Fred. I considered him my Rotary mentor, but it was more than that. Some years ago, Fred asked me to accompany him on a trip to Colby, Kansas where he became Kit Carson for the historical society. Imagine two days in a car with Fred. We talked a LOT of Rotary, of course, but we also talked of John Locke, and Kansas, and the golden days of minor league baseball. Most of the time he talked and I listened – and learned. I am saddened by Fred’s passing. I will always remember and cherish our friendship.

    Rich Hankison
    Jacksonville, FL

  22. Patrick McGinnis Says:

    Fred was my buddy on the Chautauqua circuit for four years. It is a great loss. What good times we had. Farewell Huey.

  23. carol jason and dea stevens Says:

    Fred was my son jason’s first scout leader and turned the troop over to my husband rex and ron johnson,,,we lived directly behind virginia and jeff…rex died 2 years ago…we are so sorry for your loss and the communities loss of such a giving and talented man,,,carol stevens

  24. Carol Yoho Says:

    I have fond memories of Fred and his contributions to starting and nurturing the Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, KS, an event that has spanned the past twenty years. When I heard Fred was ill I was very sorry, but felt lucky that I’d seen him just this September on stage at the festival reminescing about the festival and his role in it. I’ve also seen him portray Wm. A. White and others. Delightful man! He will be sorely missed. I invite family to visit my wrap-up of the 2012 Keaton Celebration. It contains at least two photos of Fred, linked from thumbnails. He wears one of the buttons I’ve made for yearly festivals.

  25. Noree Krebs Says:

    On behalf of the family of Donald R. Krebs, uncle of Fred, Nadine (Krebs) Flory, Curtis D. Krebs and Noreen J. Krebs would like to express our heart-felt and sincere sympathy at the passing of our nephew and cousin, Fred.
    We have the highest regard for Fred and his many achievements in his life. He always modeled for us when we were growing up together, the highest in academic endeavors and the pursuit of knowledge. We knew him to be always caring, treating everyone with kindness and consideration.
    Fred had a very distinct and acute sense of humor. He enjoyed family celebrations and the way we all joked together and had many laughs. He especially appreciated my father, Donald Krebs, and his humorous stories. I remember one time when our family was visiting, we went to a showing of Laurel and Hardy movies. Fred could be hear above all belly-laughing at the antics of his favorite characters. He really laughed from the bottom of his soul!
    Our family treasures all the wonderful memories that we have of our respective family together times particularly celebrating holidays. Those times we shared knit together our childhood memories, dreams and apsirations of what it meant to belong to a wonderful family heritage. Fred will be forever in our minds and hearts and we are very proud to be a part of his lasting legacy.
    Noreen Krebs

  26. Julie Mulvihill Says:

    Fred loved leading Kansas Humanities Council book discussions, offering presentations on Kansas history — sometimes in costume, sometimes not — and having conversations about big ideas, great thinkers, films of interest, town team baseball, and the enduring importance of small town values. Fred was a champion for every public library, historical society, local museum, rotary club, county courthouse, local restaurant, and all other organizations with an interest in strengthening our sense of community and commitment to one another. As far as I can tell, after doing hundreds of public humanities events for the Kansas Humanities Council, Fred never knew a stranger, never traveled to a community he did not fall in love with, and never ever tired of talking humanities. Thank you, Fred, for all you did for us. We will miss you dearly.

  27. Terry W. Wages Says:

    Fred was always Mr. Rotarian to me. I was sadden to hear of his premature death. We will all miss him, his wisdom and willingness to help others. My thoughts and prayers go out to Fred’s family. The World lost a special person with the passing of Fred. Thank God there will be more Rotarians in heaven now that Fred has arrived to recruit and organize. We all have many memories of Fred and his contributions to mankind. He lived the Four Way Test of Rotary.
    Best wishes to all family members and friends of Fred.

  28. Lin Knudson Says:

    Oh Fred, we have lost you way too soon–you had so much more to give. To the entire Krebs family, please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your treasured family member. Fred was a true scholar and humanitarian and lived his life by the Rotary Four Way Test. He will be greatly missed.

  29. Don Jones Says:

    As if it was supposed to be, I met Fred one day as I walked down a hall of JCCC. He approached me and began a conversation. He introduced himself and we shook hands, but I had a good idea who he was from reading campus publications. I was struck by the ease of the conversation and the connection that was made with a man I wish I had known better.

  30. Samira Hussein Says:

    I was deeply saddened to to read about Fred Krebs passing away. I shared a personal moment with him just recently at Marilyn Rhinehart’s retirement reception. Fred was as usual engaged and interested in our conversation…something not many people do. JCCC was fortunate to have had a wonderful scholar, humanitarian and above all else a kind human being as long as it did. May his family find comfort and solace knowing that Fred was admired and loved by many. I will miss his compassion, and the depth of his knowledge, especially at the IRC Quiz bowls!!

  31. Mary Jean Billingsley Says:

    Fred was a font of knowledge with a caring soul. He was so much a part of the history of JCCC. His presence will be missed at JCCC and the greater community. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

    Mary Jean Billingsley

  32. Brad Redburn Says:

    Losing Fred is like losing a primary bolt in the structure of education…things become loose and never the same. I was always in awe of him and how he was able to reach students. I will miss so much his friendly smile and warm nature in the halls. I cannot express how saddened I am by his passing. Words do not suffice.

  33. Laurie Enneking-Conner Says:

    I only got to meet Fred a few months ago, but he became very involved in my life in that short period of time. He was instrumental in helping make some enormous decisions with my education and even spoke to me about our individual families. We were connected by the school my daughters and his granddaughter attended. We connected through softball, as his daughter and I both coach. We were connected with our love of learning and of people. He was a great asset to JCCC and I know he will be missed terribly.

  34. Bruce W. Harvey Says:

    I’ll always remember you Fred as one who was highly knowledgeable, concerned for others, outgoing, humorous and engaged, You seemed at ease with yourself. Your tribute impersonations of historic figures and tireless energy for discussions on civil rights and W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk) will be remembered as well. I enjoyed your office collection of masks and your warm reception of the few I added as I discovered them at varied places. I will also remember your passion for your family…especially your granddaughter. It makes me smile to think that you and Virginia Freeman might be engaged now in some fun historical debate. Farewell….

  35. Frank Robertson Says:

    Fred was my colleague, but more important, my friend for over forty years. Although he was nine years my junior, Fred, in his intuitive manner, was in every way, a peer. His beloved mom, also a seeker, played, I am certain, a major part in this man’s inquisitiveness and his search for the kind of understanding that defines who we are. Miss him? Indeed, and so will many JCCC students as well as so many friends from Colonial UCC in Prairie Village. God bless you, my friend.

  36. Linda Weerts Says:

    Virginia and Family I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I had Fred as an instructor back in 1977. Not being a history buff myself I did not go into his class excited. However, after having him as a teacher I learned a new appreciation for history. I was always very impressed with his knowledge and love of teaching. I know he has touched many students lives and has been a great mentor to many. What a loss not only to your family but to the students at JCCC who will miss his humor, witt and love of history.

  37. Bond Faulwell Says:

    I was privileged to know and work with Fred for a decade. He was committed to his students and his teaching. He will be missed by all.

  38. Maggie McCoy Says:

    Fred was trully a wonderful part of our community. I remember him from his participation in the Colonial United Church of Christ in the 70’s and 80’s. We are all fortunate to have gotten to know Fred. His brother Jeff is another person who makes life better in our community. I am thankful that Jeff is someone who will carry on this caring for others that Fred showed for us all.

  39. Ramon Powers Says:

    I was greatly saddened to receive word of Fred’s death. He and I were fellow history students at the University of Kansas in the 1960s. Over the years I observed Fred’s activities as a public historian who brought to life important characters in our past through his work with humanities programs in the state and region. Fred was a true humanist. He believed in our potential for good, and he engaged in organizations, such as Rotary, that embody the ideal of our common humanity. His passing is a great loss not only to his family and friends, but also to his community, his state, his country, and the world community he so cherished.
    Ramon Powers

  40. Jerry and Gloria Allen Says:

    Kandi, Aaryn, and the rest of Fred’s family, Jerry and I were saddened to hear of Fred’s transitioning this life for we know how much you loved him and how much he loved you. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, and humanitarian who was so proud of his family. It was always a pleasure to talk with him when he attended our Austin’s sporting events. What a man!

  41. Doug Flick Says:

    Fred was one, if not the most, loving and wisest men I will ever have known. I will miss the Friday bakeshop discussions (lessons) about life, God, and his grand daughter. What a wonderful, wonderful human being. I will miss you buddy!

  42. Mark Anderson Says:

    I read with interest each of the posts about my Professor Fred Krebs, my favorite educator, friend, and mentor of all things history and politics. What else can be said? Not much. I had so many of the same personal touches in my JCCC education that everyone seem to receive from Fred. We were the first year at the new campus, out in the middle of nowhere at that time. I couldn’t wait to make the trek to hear what Fred was going to share with us that day in American Government, Humanities, the Arts, headlines, American History…….The 18 year olds had just been given the right to vote in 1972. It was Fred that pointed out the true meaning of that act- it was changed to voting age meant you could also run for office. I did at 18 and 19 for city council, and won. Wow, what a game changer for an illustrious average student that loved politics. Thank you Fred Krebs, for that and so many kindnesses. He assisted with our City Pool, helped us know what we did not know. Any time he was called upon, he gave. It was fun reading about the additional events Fred was involved in. He was a participant, not a spectator. He taught that and so much. God Bless Fred’s family, keep his spirit alive in our hearts and his teaching will live on forever.

  43. Doug Auwarter Says:

    I was in Fred’s American HIstory II class at JCCC in 1973. (Little did I know that I would one day teach at JCCC – “Intro to World Music.”) It was teachers like Fred that established JCCC as the gold standard among community colleges. I still refer to the notes from his class when I am confronted with a spurious comment or argument about our nation’s history. He was absolutely right – students’ lives are enhanced by reading, critical thinking, and writing with precision about the topics he discussed and knowledge that he imparted. Our nation would be a better place if everyone were so advantaged as to have a professor like Fred.

    When I started teaching in the classroom, Fred was my role model. He’d begin talking and simply fill our heads with an amazing amount of information. I still aspire to this.

    I loved running into him in the hall by his office. Although I told him years ago what an inspiration and role model he had been to me, I regret that I didn’t remind him of this more often.

    Thank you, Fred. It’s people like you who make people like me better teachers and I’ll always be grateful to you for this!

  44. Doug Watson Says:

    I had the good fortune to know Fred in several of his many character incarnations. Fred was a friend to many of us, a genius of sorts, and one of the most generous men I have ever met. The humanities have been blessed by his attentions and will be diminished by his absence.

  45. Irene Schmidt Says:

    My deepest condolences to the Krebs family! I was only recently getting to know Mr. Krebs and he was a perfect gentleman. We connected through discussions on sustainability issues and professional concerns. I was truly shocked to hear of his passing and wished I had met him sooner. God bless.

  46. David Krug Says:

    I and everyone will miss Fred. He was an inspiration to me and to all the instructors at JCCC. His love for teaching and his kind nature were contagious. His spirit will live on in the thousands of lives he touched.

  47. David W. Hersh Says:

    I worked for Fred when was the Manager of Merriam Pool as a Life guard when I was in High School and College. I always admired his knowledge in History and his Fairness. He will be missed.

  48. David Vance Says:

    I would like to express my condolences.

  49. Jordan Ç. Says:

    Goodbye Fred Krebs.
    I will remember

  50. Mike Weddle Says:

    I was one of the first students at JCCC and was proud and lucky to have been enrolled in Mr. Krebs’ history class. I learned a great deal and also was constantly impressed by the extent of Mr Krebs’ knowledge and his sense of humor and gentle manner. He will be missed.

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