Richard Wesley Krebs

The world lost a light when Richard “Dick” Wesley Krebs took the last step of his earthly journey on January 6, 2023 at the age of 98. Richard was born the first of four sons to Cecil and Anna (Nelson) Krebs on June 8, 1924. Growing up on the family farm near Woodbury, Michigan, he began his farming career plowing behind a team of horses, the orneriest he would remind listeners, as his younger brothers always got the tamer pair. This childhood experience likely explains his attachment to tractors. He used many but swore by Allis Chalmers. These years were formative for Richard. For the remainder of his life, he could recite the name and use of about every piece of old farming equipment and usually had a story to go along with it.
Richard answered his country’s call during WWII. He served in the Army in the Philippines. After his honorable discharge, Richard returned home and attended Cleveland Bible College. It was there that he met Mary Helen Winn. Richard disregarded advice to reconsider his attachment to Mary Helen due to her weak heart. It was the best gamble that a non-gambling man ever made. They were wed on June 3, 1949, raised five children together, and enjoyed 61 joyful years of life together.
Richard and Mary Helen moved their family to Charlotte, Michigan in 1964 to run the Eaton County Farm until its closure. Thereafter, Richard took up a career in real estate until his retirement. For the rest of his life, drives around the county with Richard were accompanied by observations of “Sold that house, that one too—twice!”. He also served as a volunteer fireman for Charlotte for eleven years. He was a faithful man of God and was always active in his local church.
Mary Helen passed away after a lengthy illness in 2010. Two years later, Richard married Shirley (Elkins) Betts of Eaton Rapids. They enjoyed time with family, friends and neighbors, traveling, especially their trips to Shipshewana, and just being together.
All who crossed paths with Richard could not help but be struck by his eternally sunny disposition and infectious laugh. He was truly a man who had never met a stranger. Friends and family will remember his mischievous smile that often preceded a practical joke or friendly teasing. We also remember him as a model of devotion, as daily, he faithfully attended to Mary Helen at the Eaton County Medical Care Facility. There, he was always ready to offer a helping hand and friendly ear to the facility’s other residents. Even in Richard’s last days, after becoming the patient himself, he brought a smile to those he worked with and to those who worked with him.
Richard is survived by his wife, Shirley Betts-Krebs, and four of his children with Mary Helen: Barbara (Ted) Scofield of Livingston, Montana; Nancy (Dan) Pick of Cedar City, Utah; Amy (Garth) Banks of Indianapolis, Indiana; and Becky (Frank) Balluff of Charlotte, Michigan. He was a cherished Grandfather to fourteen grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He also greatly enjoyed his relationships with Shirley’s three children, Bob, Betsee, and Mark and their extended families.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Ross, Irving, and Gaylord, his wife Mary Helen, son, Ron and daughter-in-law, Darlene, and grandson, Rich Krebs.
Godspeed, Richard. You are so loved and so missed.
A celebration of life service is planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Richard’s memory can be made to Eaton County Healing and Rehabilitation Services in Charlotte, or the Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department.
To view Richard’s obituary online or to leave a condolence for the family please visit
The family is in the care of Burkhead-Green-Kilgo Funeral Home in Charlotte, Michigan.