Maxine Krenek

[img_assist|nid=134|title=|desc=|link=url|align=right|width=129|height=200]July 18, 1921
February 7,2010

On the family farm near Medford, OK Helen Maxine was born July 18, 1921, the first of five children of Louis and Gladys Bryson Melka. She attended a country school near Medford through the eighth grade and then lived in Wichita, KS with her grandparents and Aunt Sylvia to attend East High School from which she graduated. Maxine graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS with a degree in music education.
During World War II Maxine worked as a civilian in the Navy Office in Washington, DC. Her first teaching job was in Trousdale, KS. She also taught vocal music in Medicine Lodge, KS and Towanda, KS before joining her sister Margaret, a home economics teacher, and her brother-in-law Tom Lester, a football coach, on the staff of USD 360 in Caldwell, KS in the fall of 1952. She retired from the Caldwell schools in 1969. In addition to teaching vocal music Maxine gave many students piano and vocal lessons.
When Ernest Krenek first called Maxine for a date, she thought she didn’t even know him. He responded that his daughter was one of her piano students. On May 29, 1960 Maxine Melka and Ernest Krenek were married in Caldwell, KS. Their marriage lasted almost 19 years until his death on March 22, 1979.
An active member of the Caldwell United Methodist Church since transferring from the Medicine Lodge UMC on September 20, 1953, Maxine was a member of UMW and delivered tapes of the worship service for several years. Maxine’s leaving Caldwell was one of the reasons the tape ministry ended. Choir Director for many years, she was a member of the Golden Builders Sunday School class. She also took a turn playing piano for summer worship each year.
Maxine belonged to the Caldwell Hospital Auxiliary. A faithful member of PEO for many years, Maxine first joined the Medford chapter but then transferred her membership to Chapter DW in Caldwell. She was also a member of the Starlight Study Club. It was a well known fact that if you were to host a meeting and had to back out at the last minute, Maxine was always ready to open her home for a meeting. It didn’t matter whether it was UMW, PEO, or Starlight.
When her memory began to fail, Maxine moved to Park West Plaza Retirement Home, an assisted living center in Wichita, KS. She later moved to her daughter Judy’s home where she died under hospice care at the age of 88 years early the morning of Sunday, February 7, 2010.
Maxine was preceded in death by her parents Louis and Gladys Melka, her husband Ernest Krenek, and her two youngest siblings, James and Katherine Melka.
She is survived by a son, Gary Krenek of Wichita, KS; her daughter and her husband, Judy and Louis Roth of Goddard, KS; a sister and her husband, Margaret and Tom Lester of Grove, OK; a brother and his wife, Don and Marilyn Melka of Enid, OK; five grandchildren, Cory and his wife Angela Hess, Tara and her husband Mike Brandt, Allyson, Kelsey and Austin Krenek; and ten great-grandchildren, Coleton, Dalton & Ashton Hess, Chance, Hunter, Cayden & Reiss Brandt, and Caleb, Jayce, and Jax Noyes.

Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at the Caldwell United Methodist Church.

Interment will be in the Caldwell City Cemetery, Caldwell, Kansas.

Memorials may be given in Maxine's name to the Caldwell United Methodist Church or to the Sumner County District #1 Hospital.


One of our greatest memories we have of Caldwell High is the special musical interest Mrs. Krenek took in my older sisters -- Maryann and Marjy and myself. I especially remember one time she took me aside for some special encouragement.

Mrs. Krenek was a classy lady and a wonderful teacher ... I can still picture her raising the baton, indicating for us to stand up straight and open our mouths!

Dear Judy and family,
Maxine was the foundation upon which I learned so much about music. Her selection of songs we sang, how she taught us to project, and so much more, continue to be with me today. I once went to a concert with you and Maxine in Wichita (6th grade). As we sat in the car at a traffic light, you commented about something in a window display. I couldn't see it. Later she quietly told my mother that I may need to have my eyesight checked which led to glasses and finally noticing the leaves on the trees! I'm so thankful for her dedication to so many students down through the years.
Sincerely, Cindy Thomas

Dear Judy, Maxine was a great friend and neighbor. The memories of her we will cherish always. God Bless you.
In Love and Friendship,
Bob and Jackie

Mrs. Krenek (Miss Melka) was a great lady and a wonderful music teacher. I always remember her hand on the diaphram and saying the singing is from there. I am so sorry for your loss.

Miss Melka, when I first knew her, was the consumate educator. The Ted and Pearl Lungren "kids" all benefited from her---I still today think of her and the songs we sang, each time I attend a Christmas vesper, a graduation ceremony or a choir concert. She was an "impact" player in this game of life!!! Blessings!

Dear Judy and Family,
What a wonderful educator Mrs. Krenek was! Her attention to detail and making her sudents believe they could accomplish excellence resulted in just that. I was always so proud to look at our scores at music festivals! Later on, I was singing in church one Sunday (as part of the congregation, not the choir) and the person in front of me said I had wonderful diction. Well, knew why! One of the highlights of my day through elementary, jr. high, and high school was music. I especially loved Mixed Chorus and ensembles.
On a personal note, I remember being in The Wardrobe one time, and she was shopping for you. Even then, I could tell that she was enjoying it. Now, as a mom, I can tell you I did not (and do not) enjoy shopping with my kids.
You're in our thoughts & prayers, and I'm sure St. Peter has her directing the heavenly choirs!

Terri Thomas Hall

"Miss Melka" was simply the best. It is with gratitude and pride that I remember her dedication to us--her students. She expected near perfection from each of us, and we tried to rise to her high standards. In her own way she made us better people than we would have been without her. She was also a faithful sponsor for my class--the class of '55. Music was such an important part of our school experience, and under her firm leadership we created many beautiful musical memories. I will always remember her.

Sondra Fisk Rogers

What a wonderful teacher of music both vocal & piano. Always remember dad saying he didn't mind sending me to Miss Melka for piano lessons. I asked him why? He said she surely earned her money trying to teach someone like me.
I think I can speak for most of the students that learned from Miss Melka/ Mrs. Krenek that whatever their talent level was, she could bring out the best of it & then some.

Rest in Peace.

I remember "Mrs. Krenek" (I never could call her Maxine!) from a later time in her life, after she had retired from teaching music at CHS. I feel very fortunate to have had her as a piano teacher for many years. She provided me with piano instruction second to none! Because of her I went on to major in music and teach piano myself. She taught me the importance of sight reading which led me to my special "calling" as an accompanist for soloists, choirs, and for musicals all through my years in Caldwell, in college and beyond. I continue today to accompany the choir at West Heights UMC in Wichita. Music has always been my greatest joy in life, and I have Mrs. Krenek to thank for that.

I remember a time when I was in high school that Mrs. Krenek thought she had taught me all she could, and she urged me to look for another teacher. I guess she thought there was someone better out there! I did find a teacher in Wellington who came highly recommended, but it wasn't long before I was back with Mrs. Krenek and stayed with her until I graduated. There wasn't anyone better for me!

I regret that I won't be able to attend the service, but wanted her family to know that she influenced my life and the lives of so many young people in Caldwell. She will be missed!


Music has always been a large part of my life and Miss Melka was the first person that encouraged me to sing and to do it correctly. I also remember her hand gently pushing on my mid section saying, sing from your diaphram. Needless to say she was one of my favorite teachers. She was such a large part of my high school experience and I loved her dearly. She always came to our class reunions.....and I remember she always had a smile on her face as she would recall our times together. She will be missed by many and remembered by all those students she gave so much of herself to.

Judy and Family,

We are sorry for your loss, we know that Maxine will be greatly missed. It's a comfort to know that she's with Jesus and walking on streets of gold. She was a lady full of grace, and now she graces heaven with her beautiful spirit. We should all live the rich lives that she did.


What a wonderful, wonderful woman. I have many fond memories of Mrs. Krenek from Grade School Music thru High School Music. There were times when she would provide transportation for my mother, whether it was to church or a church social and I will always be grateful for that. Not only was she a terrific music director/teacher, but a warm and caring individual. Her memory will continue to thrive through the halls of CHS as well as in our hearts. May peace be with you and your entire family.

Tim Leighty
Hillsboro, Oregon