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January 13, 2021 - 00:00
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Mabel Ethel Dungen Krenek, age 104 years, a lifelong resident of Columbus, died Jan. 5, 2021. She was actively involved in community and family life until she suffered a stroke one week from her 95th birthday. For the last nine years she was a resident at TruCare Living Center in Columbus.

A daughter and 14th child of Henry Thomas and Mary Krause Dungen, Mabel was born in the Brushy Community, north of Columbus, Aug. 3, 1916.

She was educated in a one room school house in Brushy, then in Columbus. She liked to tell her grandchildren she was educated at Brushy College. She married W B (Bill) Krenek in 1937. They made their home in Ellinger where they farmed and were well known for cooking molasses. While in Ellinger Mabel worked packing tomatoes for nine cents a lug! The postmaster told her she was the first woman in Ellinger to receive a social security card. When the dam along the Colorado River above Austin unexpectedly released a large volume of water onto crops ready to harvest, they left the farm for Freeport. Living in Freeport, Mabel recalled the fear of German subs and the total blackout at night during WW II. After Bill went to war, Mabel relocated to Columbus where she lived the rest of her life.

Mabel was a talented seamstress who sewed for family and friends. As a nature lover, she was always ready to take her grandchildren to the country to hunt or camp. She tended the Live Oaks planted in Bill’s memory on Montezuma (Little League, Soccer field) from the time they were planted until they were established. As an avid bird watcher she was thrilled to see the American Eagles who nest along the Colorado. She especially loved her job working in the Columbus School cafeterias because of the students who affectionately called her Aunt Mabel.

During her lifetime she eagerly participated in Brownies and Girl Scouts, Keep Columbus Beautiful, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Boys and Girls State and Christian Women. She was a great example of patriotism, proudly wearing the red white and blue! During the Magnolia Homes Tours she and Bill displayed their arrowheads and antique collections in many shop windows and homes. She was an avid supporter of the Columbus Cardinals for 60 years. Mabel loved the Texas Aggies, participated at the Bonfires, even in drenching rain and cold! Mabel was a member of St Paul’s Lutheran Church and regularly attended adult Sunday School, Friday Bible Study, Morning Circle, Altar Guild, and the Quilters for Lutheran World Relief and the Bereavement Committee.

She was preceded in death by her husband Bill, infant granddaughter Ann Marie Heffley, and siblings: Edna (Alonzo) Davison, Emily (Benhardt) Buxkemper, Hilda (Theodore) Flory, Lee (Pearl) Dungen, Lydia Dungen, Victoria (Paul) Buxkamper, Irene (Wilhelm) Tietscherdt, Franklin (Annie) Dungen, Elsie (Walter) Swenke, Raymond (Frances) Dungen, Mary (Bennie) Marek, Henry (Mae) Dungen, and Joseph (Leola) Dungen.

Mabel is survived by her daughter Gail Heffley (R. Richard) of Columbus; four grandsons: Richard Frank (Carleen) Heffley of Great Falls, MT, Stephen Edward (Kristen) Heffley, William Earl (Monica) Heffley of Columbus and Robert Henry (Katherine) Heffley of San Antonio; nine great grandchildren: Lindsay Ann (Jake) Ford, Ashley Margaret Kleingartner, Holly Christine Heffley, Hunter Carl Heffley, Jacob Edward Heffley, Makensie Ryan Heffley, Blair Ann Heffley, Natalie Kate Heffley and Reed Henry Heffley; five greatgreat grandchildren: Oliver, Everett, Bria, Adalynn and Declan.

Funeral services were Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 at St Paul Lutheran in Columbus with Pastor Alan Kethan officiating. Burial followed at Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery in Columbus.

Pallbearers were Richard, Stephen, William, Robert and Jacob Heffley.

Memorials may be given to St. Paul Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 267, Columbus, TX 78934.

It seems that Mabel lived up to one of her many quotes; Life’s a journey, enjoy the ride! Mabel was a patriot who embodied the spirit of the Greatest Generation who ever lived!

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