Albion BOE pays respect to Bruce Krenning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 September 2020 at 9:54 am

Fruit grower was key leader for many local organizations

Photo by Tom Rivers; Bruce Krenning accepts an award for Lifetime Achievement in September 2014 from the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

ALBION – The Albion Board of Education on Monday began its meeting by observing a moment of silence for Bruce Krenning, who served on the board from 1990 to 1995, with four of those years as board president.

Kathy Harling, the current BOE president, said Krenning left a legacy of community service. He was “a lifelong advocate for agriculture, education and cultural issues,” Harling said.

Krenning, 76, passed away on Aug. 24. He was fruit grower and hog farmer in Knowlesville. He began his public service at age 30, when he joined the Lyndonville Board of Education.

He moved from Lyndonville, where he was an orchard manager, to Knowlesville to start his own farm. Krenning Orchards was decimated by a hail storm on Labor Day in 1998. Krenning was forced to go out of business.

But he remained a strong leader for agriculture, and was elected vice president of the New York Farm Bureau, an organization with more than 30,000 members.

Locally, he was chairman of the board for Orleans Community Health, seeing the organization through some difficult financial challenges. He also served on the board for the Orleans Renaissance Group, which started the restoration of Bent’s Hall in Medina and continues to run a farmers’ market and welcome musicians to the community, including renown tenor Ronan Tynan.

The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce in 2014 honored Krenning with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years as a community leader.

Krenning, during an interview with the Orleans Hub six years ago, said he struggled with self worth after the Labor Day storm and the loss of his business.

“I thought after the hail storm that life was over and nobody would want me,” Krenning said. “But that’s not true. I’ve had opportunities with great boards.”

Many of the local organizations reached out to him, wanting his wisdom and ability to build consensus. He was also battle-tested and didn’t shrink from a challenge. Those boards would often they pick him to serve as their leader.

Krenning found a new career as an insurance agent with the Southcott Agency. (When he was VP with Farm Bureau, he helped to get crop insurance approved at the federal level for fruit and vegetable farms.)

“I’ve been fortunate that people trusted me and with that trust I can build relationships and with those relationships you can get things done,” Krenning told the Orleans Hub in September 2014.

He and his wife of 54 years, Diane, have four grown children and 14 grandchildren. Their son Adam was the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for Albion Central School. He is now the school’s athletic director and varsity football coach.

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