Mabel Krenek is a centenarian - plus four
In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was the President of the United States, James E. Ferguson was the Governor of Texas, and the Professional Golfer Association, what we more commonly refer to as the PGA, met for the first time in New York City. World War I was in full swing, the current formula of Coca Cola debuted on the market and a postage stamp costs two cents.
Jeanette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress - and on August 3, 1916, 104 years ago, Mabel Dungen Krenek was born in Brushy.
The centenarian is a lifelong resident of the Columbus area.
She and her husband Bill Krenek were married in Giddings in 1937. Mabel and Bill, a World War II veteran, shared over 50 years of marriage until Bill’s death in 1987.
In 2016, Mabel’s family and friends gathered at TruCare Living (TLC) Center in Columbus to celebrate Mabel’s 100th birthday.
When the 1918 flu pandemic was raging, Mabel was two years old.
As her 104th birthday approaches in a few days, Mabel is witnessing a second pandemic in her lifetime: coronavirus.
This year’s celebration will be drastically different, as coronavirus concerns will keep family and friends from being at TLC with Mabel in person. “Unfortunately, the facility can’t have any visitors right now. Our only contact with her has been on the phone, FaceTime and looking through the window of her room,” Mabel’s daughter Gail shared.
“She has always been a kind, loving woman. It was always important to her to live her life as a good Christian and she passed those traits to all of us,” Gail shares of her mother Mabel.
In her younger years, Mabel worked as a cafeteria worker in Columbus ISD, and she also babysat and was known for her seamstress work throughout the community.
Mabel loved to make quilts and was heavily involved in a number of community service projects, including Keep Columbus Beautiful.
“She personally tended to the memorial oaks planted in my dad’s name at the little league field,” Gail says.
Gail says Mabel’s number one priority in life has always been her faith. “She taught me and all of her grandchildren to pray,” Gail lovingly recalls.
Although Mabel’s formal education ended with eighth grade in Columbus, Gail says Mabel and Bill both valued education greatly and actively supported their grandchildren’s academic endeavors.
A lifelong Columbus Cardinals fan, Gail recalls Mabel attending many Cardinal games, even loading up neighborhood kids to take them to games to cheer on the Cardinals.
Gail says Mabel and Bill were also big Texas A&M Aggies supporters, attending bonfires and other Aggie events.
In addition to faith and family being important to Mabel, Gail says patriotism was something both Mabel and Bill held close to their hearts. “Both of my parents were extremely patriotic. They worked tirelessly with the American Legion, and Mabel wore the red, white and blue proudly. She had her hand on her heart whenever the flag was raised, and tears in her eyes while singing the Star Spangled Banner. When dad started the Boys State program in Columbus, she was beside him, baking and conducting bake sales or whatever fund raiser they had. The veterans had to personally raise the money for the expenses as there were no public funds available. They did this for many years, as they knew there was a need for everyone to better understand our government system,” Gail shares.
Mabel’s family members recall her tough work ethic in her younger years - an ethic they say she instilled into them. These days, Mabel spends her days quietly at the nursing facility she now calls home. She enjoys Sunday worship services led by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at the nursing facility.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. - Psalms 37:25