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Adele J. Krug, 104 Print E-mail
Written by TRF Times   
    Falls Church, Va. - Thief River Falls native Adele Jensen Krug, oldest living graduate and former associate professor of library science at Gallaudet University, died Sunday, May 20, at her residence in Goodwin House in Falls Church, Va.  She was 104 years old, and had outlived her husband, Walter, the school’s Dean of Men, by 50 years and nine days.
    A memorial service was held on May 27th at Goodwin House, attended by family and many friends from Gallaudet and Goodwin House. Internment was at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suitland, Md.
    The first child of Anton and Tillie Jensen, she was born March 30, 1908 in Thief River Falls, where her father operated a livery stable and winter trips to school were by horse-drawn sleigh. She contracted mumps when she was eight years old, leaving her with a slight hearing impairment that allowed her to continue in regular school. However, medical professionals predicted that her hearing would deteriorate to deafness over the years and that she should prepare for a life of teaching the deaf rather than attending St. Olaf’s College, the school of her ambitions.  She attended the State School for the Deaf in Fairibault, Minn., for a year to learn sign language, and then was admitted to Gallaudet College.
    The prediction of total deafness finally came true 85 years after her illness. At 93, in a brand-new century, this woman who wanted nothing to do with computers and talked on the phone with her children daily, had to learn a new way of communicating, and began to use email.
    “The summer of 1926 was an exciting one – getting ready to go away to college, especially since I was going all the way to Washington D.C. Not many from Thief River Falls had such good fortune befall them,” she wrote in her family memoir. “I did a lot of sewing. I began designing and making my own clothes when I was 11 years old, so it wasn’t new to me.”
    She reported that she loved her new life at Gallaudet, but spent summers at home in Minnesota, where “fun meant barn dances.  We danced away the hours with a violin and accordion players supplying the music. My father loved to dance, and when I was in high school families got together frequently on weekends, taking turns hosting the party.”
    After graduating from Gallaudet, she had her first job teaching, at the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in Providence, R.I., where she taught home economics and physical education and acted as a Girl Scout leader, for an annual salary of $900, with free room and board. “That was considered very good in those Depression years, and I was delighted,” she wrote.
    She returned to Washington, and Gallaudet, to marry Walter J. Krug, a 1927 graduate of the college, who was a teacher, football coach, and Dean of Men.  They moved into the Lodge, a small gatehouse that still stands at the college entrance, and lived there until 1940, when they outgrew it, and moved into a larger house on the campus on Faculty Row, where they lived with daughters Janice, now deceased, Diana, and identical twin sons, Walter and Warren.  
    She remembered that on Pearl Harbor Day, “We had callers all day long. Hearing impaired people wanted me to interpret [in sign language] what I heard on the radio about the attack on Pearl Harbor.”
    The campus was a wonderful home for the growing family, with spacious grounds for ball playing, an indoor pool in the gym, a kitchen garden, dozens of rose bushes, and plenty of student babysitters. She began to work in the student snack bar, and then was asked to supervise student teachers in the Kendall School.  One year later, in 1955, she joined the staff of the Edward Miner Gallaudet Memorial Library as an instructor in Library Science.  Growing up in Thief River Falls, she had learned to love the library as a toddler, began to take out books when she was four and learned to read before kindergarten.
    Ultimately, she obtained her Master’s degree in Library Science from Catholic University of America in 1961, and retired in 1975 as an Associate Professor of Library Science.
    After the untimely death of Dean Krug, in 1962, life in campus housing ended, and at 54, she learned to drive, and bought a home in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. for herself, her college-student twins, and two dozen rose bushes transplanted from Faculty Row.  Later still, in her 70’s, she became a world traveler.  After more than a decade of life in Crystal City she moved to Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads in 1991, first in an independent apartment, then assisted living, and finally, nursing care, bedridden for 31/2 years after a fall.
    She celebrated her 100th birthday, March 30, 2008, at a party attended by the Gallaudet President and student members of the sorority, the Owls (now Phi Kappa Zeta), that she had helped to found as an undergraduate.  Her 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren serenaded her with a sign-language rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”  The number of her living progeny has grown now to three children and their spouses, 11 grandchildren and 8 spouses, and 18 great-grandchildren with another on the way.
    Mrs. Krug had attended the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C. since the 1940s.