James J. Krenek

October 15, 1938January 1, 2021

James Joseph Krenek, 82, was born October 15, 1938 in Oak Park, Illinois, and passed away on January 1, 2021 after a brief hospital stay due to complications from COVID 19. He lived in Lyons, Illinois until his marriage to Roberta Plachy in 1965, when they moved to La Grange Park, Illinois. His parents were James Frank Krenek and Mary Gotkowski (Gaske) both of Chicago, Illinois.

Jim attended Washington Grammar School and Zion Lutheran School in Lyons and Morton East High School in Cicero, Illinois. He worked at Willow Farm Products during high school and then entered the U.S. Army in the Airborne Signal Corp with an NSA top secret security clearance serving from 1961 to 1964. Upon discharge he utilized his Army education benefits to obtain an A.A. in Electronics Technology from Morton College and a B.S. in Education from Chicago State University.

Although a certified teacher, Jim joined AT&T in 1969 using his multiple skills in the development, training, administrative services and building operations areas, adding Master’s Credits toward an M.B.A. from Loyola University during his career. He retired in 1992, then tried his hand in the real estate field, doing appraisals, taking courses and becoming a licensed real estate agent.

Jim had many hobbies –airplanes, kites, boats – many of which he built in miniature and enjoyed flying or floating at local parks. He was an avid railfan and built a model train layout in the basement that absorbed many hours of his time. He also studied Shakespeare and art history and became somewhat of an authority on both. His knowledge of 1950’s and 1960’s trivia was the delight of all his friends. “Ask Jim!” was their response to questions. He enjoyed biking, cross-country skiing, and running with two Chicago Marathons to his credit. But his biggest love was Chicago baseball (Sox) which he shared with his wife (Cubs) for 55 years.

He is survived by his wife, Roberta, a son, Christopher, and a brother, Clayton. Another son, Jon, predeceased him in 2016. Also surviving are cousins Joe Gaske (Jan), Billy Gaske (Sharon), Marge (Gaske)(Chris Allen), Louie Krenek (Arlene), and sister-in-law Charlene Arnony (George).

Memorial donations may be made to Thresholds, Inc., 4101 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613, or

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the KRENEK family.


  • Memorial Service

    Friday, October 15, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Friday, October 15, 2021


James J. Krenek

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