Krebs, Colonel Ret., USAR
John Ervin Krebs
of Scottsdale, Arizona passed away September 8, 2009. John was born in Hachita, New Mexico and grew up and lived in Odessa and Weatherford, Texas. He graduated from Odessa High School and after two years of prep school at Castle Heights Military School in Lebanon, Tennessee, he went on to attend Texas Military Junior College. He later received a football scholarship to Texas College of Mines UTEP in El Paso, Texas where he graduated in June of 1940 with a BA degree in history, social science and geology. He was recruited by the Pittsburgh Steelers but World War II intervened, and John entered the Army in 1941 at Ft. Bliss, Texas where he was assigned to the 56th Cavalry Brigade. From there, he went to Officers Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was assigned to the 760th Tank Battalion where he quickly gained promotion. He was deployed overseas and served in the North African theatre and Italian campaign as a tank company commander. He led Company B into combat for more that 300 days until his return to the United States in 1945. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Clusters for seven wounds received in World War II combat. With his many years of army reserve duty assignments, schooling, and teaching, he retired as a Colonel in 1976. After John’s early regular military service and his marriage to Jean Stefan in November of 1945, he returned to the Mineral Wells and Weatherford areas of Texas in the late 1940’s where he pursued his dream of cattle ranching. He left ranching and moved on to Arizona in 1950 where he owned and operated several very successful service stations in Phoenix, and West Town. He returned to ranching, once more, in the early 1980’s to help his mother with her Weatherford farm/ranch. In addition to those pursuits, he was a top car salesman for a number of used car and Ford dealerships in the Phoenix area. He was also, with his wife Jean, a charter member of the Shepherd of the Hills Congregational Church in Phoenix. Along with John’s ongoing reserve military career and business ventures, his athletics prowess was exhibited through college football, track, Golden Gloves competitions, baseball, swimming and diving, golf and other sports. His love for golf led him to work for the Scottsdale Country Club and McCormick Golf Ranch as a golf ranger, and he also volunteered and worked for the Scottsdale Community College golf program and its NJCAA championship teams. John is survived by his five children, Kathrine Jean Serritella, Karen Ann Schweiker, Joanna Ennis Miller, Kristina Verona Arslan, and John Ervin Krebs, Jr., as well as eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren, David Charles Burns, Matthew Michael Burns, Joseph Vincent Serritella, Cara Kathrine Serritella, Ryan Curtis Johnson, Wesley Duane Miller, Ashton Taylor Krebs, Aaron Bradley Krebs, Jacob Thomas Burns, Samantha Jean Burns, Cooper Christian Burns and Charlize Channing Burns. John was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, his mother Ennis Krebs Barnett, his father George Krebs his step-father Joe T. Barnett, his half brother Bill Barnett and his two sisters Laura Runyan and Pauline Jones. John’s love of country and family lead him to write two books about his World War II experiences, To Rome and Beyond, and To Rome and Beyond With Our Story of the 760th Tank Battalion, WWII. John was also a participant in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project-American Folklife Center established By Cave Creek-Cactus Shadows High School’s Arizona Heritage Project. The memories of veterans from World War II and current conflicts have been preserved in stories of veterans on DVD which are archived at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/47649. His surviving family and Battalion members will miss the camaraderie, love and friendship put forth through his writing and his 760th activities. He was indeed one of the “Greatest Generation”. Visitation will be Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. with a Funeral Service at 11:00 A.M. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phx. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, November 23, 2009 at 9:00 A.M. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or Disabled American Veterans, Acknowledgement sent to Kristina Arslan.