Joseph McKinley Kreps
June 18, 1942 ~ January 3, 2024
San Antonio, Texas
Resided in: Austin, Texas
Mr. Joseph McKinley Kreps, Sr. entered eternal life to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and to be reunited with his beloved wife Sharon on January 3, 2024, in Austin, TX at the age of 81.
Joseph “Joe” was born in San Antonio, TX on June 18, 1942, to his parents Joseph and Louise Kreps.
His father was in the Army and around 1950, he was sent to Germany and never came back. From that point on it was just him and his mother Louise who worked and raised him as a single mom. He spent a great deal of time in his mother’s hometown of Cisco, TX and spent nine summers at his grandparents’ cabin in Tres Ritos, New Mexico. He loved fly fishing and taking people out as their guide because people wanted to fish with “the boy who caught all the fish.” In 1955, he taught himself to play guitar by listening to Johnny Cash records.
Immediately after he earned his diploma from Jefferson High School in 1960, he joined the United States Army at the age of 18. He enjoyed his time in the Army and made many great friends, highlighted by two years stationed in Hanau, Germany in the 503rd Aviation Company within the 3rd Armored Division where he was an SP4. He had many great experiences and made many good friends including his friend Pat Crowe with whom by chance found him through his son in the early 2000s and they stayed in touch until Joe could no longer communicate.
After the Army, Joe worked in the oil fields in Luling, TX. He made his way to Austin and went to work for Rylander’s Grocery Store, where he met the love of his life, his wife Sharon. He worked in the grocery business in some form or fashion up until a few months prior to his passing.
Joe and Sharon were married on July 9, 1969. They would never be apart for 54 years until Sharon’s passing. They had one child, Joseph McKinley “Mack” Kreps, Jr. From that point on he was best known as a dad. While he didn’t grow up with a dad himself, he became the type of dad that every son would like to have. He coached Mack’s little league teams from T-ball to football. He made sure Mack knew all about football. Joe took his son fishing, to football games and he passed on his love of music.
Joe was so honored to be the best man at Mack’s wedding in 1993. That same year he and Sharon moved to New Braunfels, TX to be near his mother and stepdad. In 1995, he began working for Purnell Sausage Co. where he worked as a sales rep. for 28 years. In 2001, he became a grandfather. Joe was a tough “man’s man,” but when his granddaughter Faith was born, he became a big ol’ softy. He was her “Papaw.” In 2007 he became a grandfather of two when his granddaughter Sonnie was born. He loved his granddaughters very much and they were the light of his life.
While Joe and Sharon were steadfast believers all their lives, it wasn’t until 2000 that Joe read about a little church called The Country Church, not 15 minutes from home, where he could wear jeans and boots and be welcomed. He told Sharon about it and she was all-in! That little church would change and enrich their lives from their very first visit all the way into eternity. Joe and Sharon studied God’s Word and prayed together, and as the church thrived and grew, so also Joe and Sharon grew spiritually as they walked with Jesus alongside this great fellowship of like-minded Christians. Joe played in The Country Church Band after having played guitar his entire life and finally found a way to put his talent to use. He thought of it as a calling. He absolutely LOVED playing in the band with his friends and fellow worshippers and eventually that led him to perform in the worship band at Pecan Grove Country Church in Lytle, TX where he and Sharon grew in their faith as well.
Joe was a fun guy. He had a dry humor that was genuinely funny. Most importantly, he was a good man. He loved to gather with family, eat good food and he was known to have a little fun. Joe loved to listen to music and attend Texas Longhorn football games.
Joe was a Texan through and through but his fondness for New Mexico lasted a lifetime. He and Sharon took many vacations to New Mexico over the years. Mack also took his dad on many trips that he thoroughly enjoyed. Mostly they went to see out of state Texas Longhorn football games. Joe’s all-time favorite trip was going to the 2009 National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Even though Texas lost the game, he had an absolute blast.
Joe was a Longhorn fan his entire life. Sharon was not a Longhorn fan for her entire life, but just like he won her heart, he turned her into the orange blood she became. Joe and Sharon went to games for years and started taking Mack at the age of six. The family never missed a game, whether it was on the radio, TV or attending in person. Mack carries on that tradition to this day.
Joe and Sharon were also fortunate enough to have a close relationship with Mack’s wife Denise’s family and for 30 years they spent all holidays with her parents and extended family. He absolutely loved those times. While it may be cliché to say it, Joe lived a good life.
After complications from a hip replacement Joe was confined to a bed for the final six months of his life in which, during that time, Sharon passed away. After two surgeries and being in a nursing home in New Braunfels, he arrived in Austin to be in Hospice care with Embrace Hospice. Joe would live just 20 more days. Embrace Hospice took extraordinary care of him, especially given the situation he was in. When he was suddenly told he wouldn’t live much longer, he showed absolutely no fear and accepted everything as part of God’s plan. Though he did suffer, he never complained. He loved to have his son and Denise at his side. Denise’s mom Gloria spent many hours with him in his final days and he loved that she visited him. Nobody could get more things done to make sure Joe was taken care of than she could. Together they made him feel as loved as possible in his final days.
Joe is survived by his son Mack Kreps (Denise Kreps) and beloved grandchildren Faith and Sonnie as well the extended family of both Denise and Sharon.
The family would like to thank all of those who stood by him and stayed in touch with him during his final five months in the hospital and nursing homes. The people who helped in so many ways. Those who came and sang with him so he could play his guitar from the bed and sing. Those who came and prayed with him. His passing came as a shock to everyone. Also, a special thank you the nurses at Brush Country Nursing and Rehabilitation in Austin. They carried out the Hospice orders and cared for him as his body finally gave up. They were attentive and kind. But a huge thank you goes to Embrace Hospice and especially to his Clinical Supervisor, Kevin Roux. He not only helped Joe in his final 20 days, but he did wonders helping the family through an extremely difficult time. He continues to be there for them. There are not enough thanks in the world for what he did for Joe and his family.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.