Hansen-Spear Funeral Home – Quincy, Illinois

Francise Charlene Krabbe

Francise “Charlene” Krabbe, age 90, of Kenosha, WI and formerly of Quincy, IL died on Friday, March 1, 2019 in Kenosha, WI.

Charlene Krabbe | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, ILCharlene Krabbe was born in Quincy, Illinois on August 13, 1928 to Ruth and Fred Ericson. From an early age she was called Char and she was doted on by her family and especially by her beloved Uncle (Dr.) Charles Ericson, and her grandmothers Matilda (Tilly) Ericson and Dora Boughner. A great story teller, Char would enthrall her two daughters with stories of her childhood including the tale of her Uncle Charles removing her tonsils on the dining room table when she was just five. Charles and Tilly lived in the Frederick Douglas Hotel and Char stayed with them almost every Friday night where she ate in the dining room and was treated to movies at the nearby theater. When Char was six, Charles and Tilly took her by train to Chicago to the newly built Stevens Hotel to see Phil Spitalny and His Orchestra. Little Char was mesmerized by soloist Evelyn and Her Magic Violin. After that visit, Charles arranged for Char to take violin and piano lessons which began her lifelong appreciation of classical music.

After high school Char left Quincy to attend William Woods College in Fulton Missouri where she met the love of her life, Donald J. Krabbe, a dashing student at the neighboring Westminster College. Don was brilliant and big in stature and in personality and Char told her daughters that the moment she met him she knew that she’d follow him to the ends of the earth. And she did. Char and Don moved over thirty times during their 53 year marriage, living in towns across the US, and Mexico and South America. In retirement, they traveled to India, Lithuania and Poland where Don served on the International Executive Services Core. They also traversed the US and Mexico in an old pickup eventually settling in Fox, Arkansas where they lived until Don’s death.
During her lifetime, Char was crowned Miss Quincy, was a fashion model, was a top-notch secretary, co-ran a machinery wholesaling company with her husband, wrote jingles for WTAD in Quincy, served as a housemother at Culver Stockton College and most notably was a patient and benevolent mother and wife. She was everyone’s favorite aunt and her house was the one all of her daughter’s friends wanted hang out as she tolerated all of their hijinks including allowing them to dress up in her wedding dress. She would sit with a cup of coffee watching as they created tent cities under the dining room table with a collection of sheets and sofa cushions. She was the kindest of souls, whose moto was “there but for the grace of God go I.” When walking through the streets of Mexico City, she kept a pocketful of pesos which she tenderly placed in the hand of each beggar she passed. She loved animals and children and they were attracted to her sweet smile and her gentle nature.

She adored being in the presence of interesting, smart men and they in turn were dazzled by her natural beauty and charm. Char was a self-admitted news junky and loved to read the daily paper, and listen to radio and television broadcasts. She smelled of Arpege perfume, was always fashionable and matched her shoes and purse to her attire. She was known as ChaCha to her grandsons.
Char was an avid correspondent who maintained life-long friendships including ones that dated back to kindergarten. When she returned to the Quincy area in her seventies, she began a tradition of meeting for lunch at Sprouts Restaurant with a group of school friends who dubbed themselves “The Purple Ladies” after the poem by Jenny Joseph “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves…” Char embodied grace, class and was the most even tempered person to walk the earth and she had a wonderful sense of humor. Words that often come to mind when thinking of her are dear, kind and lovely. She will be profoundly missed by all who knew her.

Charlene was preceded in death by her beloved husband Donald Jennings Krabbe and her brother, John Drury, survived by her daughter Barbara Wierzba and her husband, Kenneth of Pleasant Prairie, WI and her daughter Susan Krabbe and her partner, Len Levin of Medford, MA and her long-time companion Joseph Kennedy. She is also survived by her grandsons David (and wife Melissa) and Peter Wierzba and by two great-grandsons Renner and Edison and by the her brother, Robert Ericson, his wife Gladys, and their children Debbie Naught, Diana Abbott, Michael and Mark Ericson. Also by niece Leslie Schuman, nephews Kent, Craig, Joe and Kirk Krabbe and nieces Linda Drury and Melissa Henry.

Services: 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 8, 2019 at St. John’s Anglican Parish with Father Patrick Smith officiating.

Visitation: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 8, 2019 at St. John’s Anglican Parish

Entombment: Quincy Memorial Park Mausoleum


Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of arrangements.

  1. What a lovely tribute to your Mother. She lived a very interesting life and she touched many people in her life. You have so many special memories to keep in your heart.
    May Char rest in peace.

  2. Such a lovely tribute to a wonderful lady. Always smiling, forever gracious and patient, Aunt Char leaves a legacy of two special ladies, Barbara and Susan. She was so proud of you girls…..
    Rest In Peace, Aunt Char❤️

  3. This obituary paints such a lovely picture of your mother. Such a wonderful generous soul – I wish I had had the chance to know her. Sue, I am truly saddened and sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  4. I have lost a wonderful and caring Friend, but left with many memories. It is hard to find words that really tells your feelings at a time like this. Char left two wonderful daughters to carry on. Love

    Joyce Kristofferson

  5. This is one of the most beautiful obituaries I have ever read. I feel like I know her. My deepest sympathy to you Barbara and family.

  6. it is never easy to say goodbye to those we love, but we can be comforted by the joy they brought us in our life, the love that we shared, and how they influenced who we have become. I know that you will carry her in your heart always. Susan, my thoughts are with you and your family.

  7. I am so very sorry for your loss. Char was one of my all time favorite people.

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