As the first lady of Ralston for six years in the 1960s, Joyce Kronberg always had a special place for the city in her heart.
Kronberg, 85, the wife of former Ralston mayor Wendell Kronberg, died June 15.
Wendell served as Ralston mayor from 1963 to 1969. He was part of the legendary “handshake agreement” with Omaha Mayor A.V. Sorensen in which Omaha would not make a move to annex Ralston.
That agreement has played an important role in Ralston’s past and future for more than 50 years. But not to be forgotten is the role Joyce played alongside her husband of 61 years. Wendell died in 2013.
“Mom was very active in the city and she was by dad’s side the entire time supporting him,” said Jann Glesmann, Kronberg’s daughter. “In those days, we hosted all the big events so we frequently had people over to visit. I remember each Fourth of July, any dignitaries that were in the parade came over to our house and mom cooked for all of them. She wasn’t out in front of the political scene like dad was, but she gave quiet support.”
Joyce found ways beyond the political scope to offer support as well. She and Wendell were charter members of Messiah Lutheran Church and she remained a member until her death.
“They were members when the church was in a house,” Glesmann said. “She was always involved in the church as a member of the altar guild and she was involved with the ladies group that made lunch for people after funerals.”
When the Kronberg’s son, Hal, died at the age of 17 in 1980, they created a patio at the church in his honor.
But as much as Joyce was involved in the community, her greatest accomplishment was taking care of her family, which also included Glesmann’s brother, Dr. Kent Kronberg.
“She was all about family and she always said raising them was her career,” Glesmann said.
“She supported everything we did. She represented a home where the minute you walked in the front door and saw her in the kitchen, you knew you were home. She made sure everything flowed smoothly.”
The Kronbergs made Ralston their home for more than 60 years and Glesmann said her mom was all about the community.
“My mom was a true believer that it takes a village to raise a family,” she said. “Pretty much everything we did involved Ralston. She always wanted to give back to the community.
“We’d walk the neighborhoods and I got to know somebody on every block. She wanted to make sure that we knew the city and knew everybody and that everybody knew us.”
Along with Glesmann and Kent, Joyce is also survived by five grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials can be sent to the Lakeside Village Scholarship Fund, Visiting Nurse Association or Messiah Lutheran Church.