Remembering John Krebsby Senator Barbara Boxer
Posted on 2014-12-12
BOXER. Madam President, I ask my colleagues to join me in paying
tribute to the life and extraordinary accomplishments of former
Congressman John Krebs, who recently passed away at the age of 87 in
John was born on December 17, 1926, in Berlin, Germany. After Hitler came to power, he escaped with his family to Tel Aviv. There, he became a diamond cutter and joined the Haganah, a Jewish underground organization that supported independence from Britain and the establishment of an independent Jewish state.
John moved to California in 1946 to attend the University of California at Berkeley and after graduating in 1950, he became a United States citizen in 1952. Following two years in the U.S. Army, John graduated from the University of California Hastings College of Law and practiced law for three decades.
Throughout his remarkable life, John Krebs sustained a strong commitment to public service. He worked on numerous state and local campaigns and was a respected Democratic activist and community leader before his 1970 election to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors, where he was a courageous and eloquent advocate for his constituents.
In 1974, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he [[Page S6782]] successfully championed a bill to permanently protect 25,000 acres of the Sierra National Forest known as Kaiser Ridge, saving this beautiful area above Huntington Lake from logging. Then, in 1978, Congressman Krebs took on an even greater challenge: fighting for legislation to transfer Mineral King Valley from the Sequoia National Forest to Sequoia National Park, thereby blocking plans to build a ski resort that would have destroyed this pristine alpine valley in the southern Sierra Nevada. Facing significant opposition, this was the toughest fight of his political career--one that may have cost him his seat in Congress--but John was proud of what he accomplished in preserving this natural treasure for future generations to enjoy.
Years later, I was honored to introduce legislation designating 40,000 acres of land, including the Mineral King Valley, as the John Krebs Wilderness. President Obama signed it into law in 2009, and that summer some 200 friends, family and admirers gathered in Mineral King Valley to dedicate this worthy tribute to John's courage and vision.
On Friday, November 14, more than 250 of John's friends and family joined together at Temple Beth Israel in Fresno to share memories and honor this remarkable man's amazing legacy. John Krebs's extraordinary life was a uniquely American story, and he will be truly missed. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife and partner of 58 years, Hanna, children Daniel and Karen, and their families.