Flags are at half-staff throughout Wyandotte in honor of the city's "first family," William and Edna Kreger, who died mere hours apart from one another.
William Kreger, 97, died Friday, and Edna Kreger, 96, died about 12 hours later on Saturday.
William Kreger served as Wyandotte's mayor from 1950-56, according to Wyandotte Museums. He also was a member of the Huron Clinton Metropark Authority for more than 40 years and worked as publisher of the Wyandotte News-Herald Newspaper for more than 30 years and as the vice-president of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Wyandotte, according to city records.
William Kreger also served on Wyandotte’s Community Development Task Force and was a rowing enthusiast, as evidenced by his longtime involvement with the Wyandotte Boat Club.
Due to the Kregers' heavy community involvement, Rotary Park at Third and Maple was renamed the William and Edna Kreger Memorial Playground at the request of Rotary Club members in June 2009. At that time, William Kreger had been a Rotarian for more than 60 years.
Wyandotte Mayor Joseph Peterson, who has known the Kregers for decades, called William Kreger a “good friend, dedicated public servant (and) a great mayor.”
"To me, Mr. Kreger will always be known as Mr. Rotary," Peterson said. "His dedication that he gave to this city, along with his wife, Edna, is second to no family that I can remember from the years I’ve been around."
Peterson said he's not surprised that the couple died only a day apart.
"Mr. Kreger lived for his wife and his wife for him," he said. "God gave this city a very precious couple. ... Even though they are gone, they will never be forgotten and they will never be replaced. I just hope their family just understands how much they meant to us, the city of Wyandotte.”
The couple will have a combined funeral.
Visitation is from 1 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at R.J. Nixon Funeral Home, 2544 Biddle Ave. Visitation will continue at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 135 Superior, until the funeral at 10 a.m.
Burial will follow at Michigan Memorial Park Cemetery in Huron Township.
The Kregers are survived by two sons, Conrad and Jeffrey; four daughters, Joy Borchers, Kathleen Williams, Gretchen Wenk and Suzanne Smith; 15 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
Granddaughter Elizabeth Kreger said the family is at peace with the passing of such an ideal couple.
"We are celebrating their extraordinary life and external love," she said.
The family asks that memorial contributions be mailed to the Wyandotte Public Schools Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 412, Wyandotte, MI 48192. Conrad Kreger is president of the foundation.
Check back later for more information.