Kroeker, Walter E. (1915-2000)
Walter Edwin Kroeker: agriculturalist and businessman; born in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada on 2 September 1915 to Abram Arthur Kroeker and Elizabeth (Nickel) Kroeker, the eldest of nine children. Walter married Madeline Ruth Epp (30 June 1919, Sevastopol, Crimea, South Russia - 9 September 2001, Winnipeg, Manitoba) in Steinbach, Manitoba on 30 May 1940 and they had four children: Marlyce, Wally, Allan and Randy. He died in Winnipeg on 1 September 2000 and was buried in Winnipeg.
In 1928 the Kroeker family moved to a farm southeast of Winkler. Walter completed high school in Winkler, graduated from Winkler Bible Institute (Evangelical Teacher Training Course) and studied agriculture at the University of Manitoba and the University of Minnesota.
From 1936 on Walter was a partner in the family farm of A. A. Kroeker & Sons, pioneers in the production of corn and seed potatoes. The farm was incorporated in 1955 and today (2009) is known as Kroeker Farms Ltd., one of Canada’s largest potato producers. He was president for many years and later chair of the board until retiring in 1989. He was also a director and officer of other family farm-related corporations involving poultry and feed services.
Kroeker was very active in agricultural, horticultural, marketing and trade organizations, and water resource conservation. He was the founding president of the Vegetable Growers’ Association of Manitoba from 1953-1955. When this co-operative became the Manitoba Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board, he was secretary and director from 1972 to1979.
Kroeker served on the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) from 1954-1987, as president in 1967 and as a member and chair of its Trade and Tariff Committee. In 1985 he was given an honorary life membership in the CHC. He was considered a leader in tariff matters and represented Canada in negotiations with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). He was a member of the International Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) from 1986-1988.
Walter was also active in broadcasting. In 1957 he was a founding director of Southern Manitoba Broadcasting Company (now Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.), Altona, Manitoba, which operates CFAM and many other radio stations across the Canadian prairies, later serving as president for many years and then chair of the board. In 1960 he was a founding director of the first private television station in Winnipeg, CJAY, (later CKY-TV), and served on its board of directors for a number of years. He very much enjoyed his involvements in broadcasting, including the opportunity to help launch the ZP-30 radio station in Paraguay, as well as many years of activity in National Religious Broadcasters.
Walter enjoyed collecting rare books and was a particular fan of the work of Samuel Johnson. He also collected railroad watches and became a North American authority on Webb Ball.
Kroeker was baptized and joined the Winkler Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church as a young man. When he moved to Winnipeg he became a member of the North End MB Church (later the Elmwood MB Church). He served on numerous Mennonite Brethren conference boards and in later years took particular interest in the history of his denomination and sponsored several historical publications.
Kroeker was awarded the following: Manitoba “Golden Boy” Good Citizenship Award, 1966; Vegetable Growers’ Association of Manitoba, Honourary Life Membership, 1977; Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977; Agriculture Canada 50th Anniversary Agri-Food Award of Excellence, 1984; Member of Order of Canada, 1989; and inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, 2000.
For Walter E. Kroeker, the soil and the airwaves became venues to serve as a minister of daily life. He felt deeply that his duty as a Mennonite citizen of Canada was to give rather than receive, to build rather than destroy, to innovate rather than stand still, and to “increase flocks and herds” to strengthen his church and civil society.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Kroeker, Wally. "Kroeker, Walter E. (1915-2000)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2009. Web. 22 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/kroeker_walter_e._1915_2000.
APA style: Kroeker, Wally. (October 2009). Kroeker, Walter E. (1915-2000). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/kroeker_walter_e._1915_2000.