Marvin Elroy Kroeker


Marvin Elroy Kroeker, 94, died July 18, 2023, in Fresno, Calif. He was born Sept. 20, 1928, in Corn, Okla., one of 10 children of Jacob P. and Mary (Zielke) Kroeker, and was the last survivor. His grandparents on both sides immigrated from Russia in 1875 and 1876, and his mother’s family participated in the Oklahoma land run of 1889.
He graduated from Corn Bible Academy in 1946 and from Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kan., in 1950. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in 1954 and 1967, respectively.
After several years teaching high school in Kansas and California, he became associate professor of history at Tabor College from 1956 to 1966, with two years of leave while studying for his doctorate at OU. From 1966 to 1993, he served as professor of history at East Central University in Ada, Okla., and from 1988 to 1993 as chair of the ECU Department of History. At ECU, he developed and taught the first American Indian history courses.
He served on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Historical Society and served as its president from 1996 to 1999. He also served on boards for the OU Western History Associates, the Oklahoma Historical Records Advisory Board (appointed by the Oklahoma governor), Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest and Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies at Tabor College.
He authored three books, chapters in several history books, numerous articles in professional journals and paper presentations and more than 20 published book reviews. In 2009, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his sons, Bruce, Kevin (Lynn) and Ross (Joan); seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Lily; brothers Carl, Elmer, Harvey and Orville; and sisters Esther, Ruby, Edna, Loretta and Jennie.The service was held at Willow Avenue Mennonite Church, Clovis, Calif.

Memorial contributions may be given to Mennonite Central Committee for support of refugees.

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