Michael Richard Kroening, loving husband and ever-caring father, passed away at 72 years old on January 18, 2023, in his home and surrounded by his family.
Michael was born and raised in Lamont, Alberta, the second child of Richard and Lenore Kroening. Michael often shared stories of the many fun family times he and his older sister, Leslie, and younger brother, Jim, had with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Christmases were especially memorable, always filled with laughter and sing-a-longs, and Elk Island National Park was like their very own backyard playground!
Michael got to know his wife Lauri while the two worked together as social workers for the City of Edmonton. Upon being first introduced, he told her, “If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” Three years later, she took him up on his offer, and so began their life’s journey of 41 years together; they travelled, married, built a home, planted a garden, and in 1997 welcomed their favourite accomplishment, daughter Claire, into the world.
Michael’s greatest joy was taking care of his girls. He especially loved gardening with them, travelling with them through the mountains, across Canada and to Europe, and photographing them. He was endlessly supportive of them both.
Michael caught the photography bug from his dad and pursued it passionately, collecting cameras and lenses and developing expertise in capturing landscapes, flowers, backyard animals and taking portraits in his basement studio. He has been the unofficial photographer for many weddings and graduations, choir tours, and countless family events over the years.
Notoriously silly and quick-witted with puns, dad jokes and other groaners, Michael enlivened gatherings with his uniquely loveable humour. It was his humour, too, that endeared him to his friends. He liked to connect with people and a gentle quip with a twinkle in his eye was often his first move.
Michael’s love of cars—also passed down to him from his Dad—came years earlier, as he worked at the family business, Kroening’s Garage in Lamont. Michael always remembered his growing-up years in Lamont fondly, returning on drives in the country to show others the little flat-roofed bungalow where he grew up.
The through-line of Michael’s 35-year career with the City of Edmonton was helping others, whether through direct service or in his varied management roles. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Michael had an innate belief in the goodness of others and in people’s ability to work together. A gentle, patient listener, he created safe environments for people to be heard, grow and make their own contributions to the life of our city.
In his retirement years, he enjoyed curling with a seniors’ curling league, even more photography, connecting with his neighbours, and supporting his girls (with even more vigor!). He also got to see his family grow in size, welcoming grand-nephews and grand-nieces, and spending precious time with them. He always loved being host to many delicious potlucks that brought the people dearest to him together.
Lauri and Claire cared for Michael at home during his 8½-month illness. We know that Michael would want us to extend his thanks to everyone who supported him throughout the entire experience, and to those who continue to support his girls following his death. We owe a huge thank you to his family physician, Dr Robert Talbot-Jones, his palliative care physician, Dr Samuel Fanous, and the entire Pod H palliative home care team, along with so many family members, friends and neighbours.
Oh, we’ll miss him! Michael was lucky to have a big and loving family: Wife Lauri and daughter Claire, Lauri’s mom Leone; Lauri’s siblings Toni (Steve), Nola (Bruce), Ria (Ron) and David (Leah); nieces and nephews Eric (Cheyenne), Gregory (Maranda), Lauren (Johnny), Aynsley, Gillian, Jenny (Steve), Laura (Greg), Jody (Jeffrey); and grand-nieces and nephews Soren, Alora, Tzeitel, Camilla, Roman, Otto, Frankie, Willow, Jules, Jaxon and Jagger; Brother Jim (Sylvain), sister Leslie (Paul), nieces Kerry, Kimberly (Rob) and Katie (Roy) and grand-nephews Ephraim and Gabriel; Aunt Trudy and Uncle Jack, many cousins and their families; and many dear friends.