ROCKPORT — Politics in Rockport tend to be a big part of this town, with volunteers and activists taking important roles in deciding issues from development to the desire to preserve the community’s character.
And, by all accounts, Rockport lost one of its most committed public servants and generally concerned citizens when John Krenn, 88, died at his home last Tuesday.
Krenn, who was born in Atlantic City, N.J., was also a World War II veteran, serving in the United States Coast Guard. From there, he used GI Bill benefits to finish High School and later graduated from what is now Rowan University followed by a year of graduate study at the University of Michigan.
After working with electronics for a number of years, his family settled in Rockport in 1962; first on Tregony Bow then High Street. He become an active member in a town affairs, boards and committees.
“He was quite a guy, he worked awfully hard for the town,” said former selectman Fredrick “Ted” Tarr.
“We used to fight like mad of course, which is the fun of it,” Tarr said. “I think we had a couple of good words to say about each other, but not very often,” he joked.
But, as a self-described trouble maker, Krenn was always one to speak his mind — and was often the only person in the room willing to say what others were clearly thinking, Tarr and others said.
Tarr especially commended the efforts Krenn made both on the Planning Board, where he served on for five years as chairman and later on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
While chairman, he was responsible for the complete reorganization of the existing zoning bylaw.
“He was instrumental on the Zoning Board of Appeals to make sure there were fair rules, but (rules that would) not change the whole feel of the town,” said Dr. Sydney Wedmore, who chairs the Thatcher and Straitsmouth Island Committees.