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Professor Emeritus Kroner Dies at 84

Professor Emeritus Klaus E. Kroner of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department died on May 13 in Northampton surrounded by his family. Professor Kroner started his teaching career at NYU, followed by two years at the University of Maine Orono, before coming to the UMass Amherst College of Engineering in 1957. He also taught occasionally at Holyoke and Greenfield Community Colleges. He was active in the Engineering Design Graphics Division of the American Society for Engineering Education, which bestowed on him the Distinguished Service Award in 1985, and was a member of several other professional organizations as well. He retired from teaching in 1988.

Professor Kroner leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Helen (Edwards Jackson), two children, and three grandchildren.

Professor Kroner was born in Germany in 1926 and lived in Berlin until age 12, when he, with his parents, Dr. Karl Kroner and Dr. Irmgard Kroner, immigrated to Reykjavik, Iceland. During their six-year stay there he attended public schools as well as business school, learned the language fluently, and took a great liking to the country. In 1945 the family came to the U.S. and settled in Yonkers, New York. He earned a B.A. degree at the College of Wooster, Ohio; a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at New York University; and an M.B.A. at American International College in Springfield. He also did graduate work and research in geography at Clark University in Worcester.

In the mid-seventies Professor Kroner participated in alternative energy research, and out of that interest founded, together with his wife, Energy Alternatives – a business promoting the use of renewable energy sources in the home.

He served as director of the Valley Health Plan in Amherst as well as the subsequent Kaiser Health Plan of Massachusetts for a combined 17 years. He was also a director of The Lathrop Communities in Northampton and Easthampton.

During his 47-year residency in Leverett, he served on many town committees and boards and also volunteered for the AARP Tax-Aide program in Greenfield and Amherst for over a dozen years. He was also involved with the outreach programs of the Franklin County Care Corporation. Having been a longtime member of the Leverett Congregational Church, he served on many church committees, was treasurer for 10 years, and sang in the choir. Hobby interests included travel and stained glass crafting.

There are no calling hours and burial is private. A “celebration of life” will be held at a later date. Donations in his memory may be made either to The Friends of Leverett Library, P.O. Box 250, Leverett, MA 01054, or A Better Chance House, 74 N. Prospect St., Amherst, MA 01002. (May 2010)