John Krementz

Obituary of John J. Krementz


John J. Krementz, of Collingswood, New Jersey, passed away on Monday, March 18, 2024. He was 98.


John Joseph Krementz

July 17, 1925-March 18, 2024

In a life spanning nearly a century, John Joseph Krementz was a son, a brother, a Marine, a husband, an accountant, a musician, a painter, a gardener, a fitness enthusiast, a proud veteran, a devout Catholic, a loyal friend, a steadfast provider and—most impactfully—a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

John was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the third of four children of Edward Krementz and his wife Mary Ellen (née McAuliffe). Edward was a photographer and violinist who carried on the artistic legacy of his own father, Joseph Krementz, a renowned landscape and portrait painter famous in the region as the “dean” of Southern Indiana artists.

John’s well-to-do family lost most everything but their cultural bearings during the Great Depression. He often spoke about the weekend chamber-music concerts his father and Aunt Mamie, a pianist, would perform on their porch for the New Albany, Indiana, neighborhood in which he grew up.

Aunt Mamie was eager for young John to learn Bach and Beethoven; he preferred boogie-woogie. So he cajoled Aunt Mamie into teaching him the chords needed to sight-read the latest jazzy hits. The destruction of his family’s baby grand piano in the Ohio River flood of 1937 devastated John, but his love of boogie-woogie—and penchant for sitting down and tickling the old ivories—stayed with him through the end.

John remembered being at the movies when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. As soon as he came of age 18 months later, he enlisted in the Marines, following in the military footsteps of his older brother, Edward Jr., who was then serving as a B17 radio operator in the Army Air Force.

As a Marine, John was a member of the 17th antiaircraft artillery battalion stationed on the island of Tinian, the origin point for the Enola Gay, the plane that delivered the atomic bomb to Hiroshima. John’s stories about serving in the South Pacific ran the gamut from the amusing (brewing “raisin jack” in helmets) to the tragic (walking out on patrol to see dead Japanese soldiers wash up on the beach).

The lowest moment of John’s time in the Marines came when he was alerted to the death of his brother. Edward Jr.’s plane was shot down over the Baltic Sea on Easter Sunday 1944; his remains were never recovered.

Post-war, John was honorably discharged and returned to New Albany, where he learned to drive, bought a 1941 Pontiac and, as he put it, “melted into the financial field.” He got a job as an Internal Revenue Service agent and started taking accounting classes at night at Indiana University.

John decided life in the IRS wasn’t for him when he was forced to foreclose on an elderly woman. He became an accountant for BF Goodrich and married Dolores Walker in 1949. The couple eventually had two children, Joyce and Steve, whom they raised in a homey ranch with a picture window overlooking Louisville and a forest for a backyard.

In 1971, John was invited to become the plant controller at Goodrich’s new facility in South Jersey. In what he described as the most difficult decision of his life, he took the job and moved his small crew away from their large extended family, settling in West Deptford. John remained a vital Goodrich employee until his retirement in 1990.

Retired didn’t mean idle, though. John flourished once he stopped working full-time. He ran his own tax business. He and Dolores traveled on pilgrimage to Italy, the Holy Land and Venezuela. He played with and doted on his growing contingent of grandchildren, challenging them to heated backyard games of croquet, teaching them poker, taking them to baseball games and amusement parks. They doted on him right back. In time, so did his great-grandchildren, who called him “Big Grandpa.”

After Dolores’ death in 2013, John took inspiration from his artist grandfather and began to seriously study painting, winning several awards and ribbons for his work—now proudly owned by his children and grandchildren. He also continued his musicianship, playing piano for family and at local retirement homes.

John spent the last year and a half of his life as a resident of the United Methodist Communities in Collingswood, where he was known fondly as “Big John.” Active in the Veterans’ Committee, he exercised daily in the gym for an hour and played piano for patients in the memory-care unit, befriending residents and staff alike.

Despite suffering a series of medical setbacks—bladder cancer, macular degeneration, several strokes and cardiac incidents—John rebounded repeatedly over the last span of his life, remaining fit, fully himself and all but independent until seven weeks before his death, caused by a catastrophic post-stroke fall. He lived long enough to meet William Benjaminsen, the youngest of his 29 great-grandchildren, now a month old.

John had hoped to be the last surviving Marine to have served in World War II. He did his goal one better: According to genealogical records, he was the longest-living Krementz dating back to the 1250s.


Beloved husband to the late Dolores.; Devoted father of Joyce Lively (Philip) and Steven Krementz (Cheryl) Adoring grandfather of Katherine (Brian) Verderese, Peter (Claire) Lively, Daniel (Alissa) Lively, Timothy (Erica) Lively, Rachel (Kyle) Gerner, Julia (Matthew) Moynihan, Paul (Jocelyn) Lively, Teresa (Henrik) Benjaminsen, Mary Lively, Caroline Lively, Harrison Krementz, Jeremy Krementz; Cherished great grandfather of twenty nine; dear brother of the late Edward Krementz, Richard Krementz and Anna Aschbacher. John is also predeceased by his granddaughter in law, Erin Lively.

Farewell Tribute

Relatives and friends are invited to attend John's visitation Monday, March, 25, 2024 after 10:00AM in Our lady of Hope Parish at St. Agnes R. C. Church, 701 Little Gloucester Road, Blackwood where his Funeral Mass will follow at 11 AM. Interment with Military Honors will follow in New Saint Mary's Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in John's memory may be made to Holy Angels Parish, 85 Cooper Street, Woodbury.

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10:00 am - 10:45 am
Monday, March 25, 2024
Our Lady of Hope Parish @ St. Agnes RC Church
701 Little Gloucester Rd.
Blackwood, New Jersey, United States

Funeral Mass

11:00 am
Monday, March 25, 2024
Our Lady of Hope Parish at Saint Agnes RC Church
701 Little Gloucester Road
Blackwood, New Jersey, United States

Graveside Services

New Saint Mary's Cemetery
515 W. Browning Road
Bellmawr, New Jersey, United States
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