6 N Main • Caldwell, KS • 620-845-6424
[img_assist|nid=134|title=|desc=|link=url|align=right|width=129|height=200]July 18, 1921
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.