John Kreider, for whom Kreider Hall on campus was named, died on Jan. 31 after catching pneumonia. Kreider, who was a significant face to the development of the college throughout the years, passed away at the age of 98. He was in good health until almost a month before his death.
Kreider was born in Harrisburg, Pa. May 9, 1905. He received his Bachelor of Arts at the Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1921. Following his passion for teaching, Kreider proceeded to move to Los Angeles to attend USC, where he studied political science. After receiving his Masters in Teaching in 1932, Kreider taught history at La Cresenta Elementary School. He later began to teach political science at both Roosevelt Middle School and Glendale High School. During the time he was teaching at Glendale High School, he joined the military and served as captain of the Navy from 1942 to 1946, where as his wife Elsa Kreider said, “he served his country with distinction.”
Upon his return home to the states, Kreider came to GCC in 1947 and became Dean of Instruction in 1955. In 1959, Kreider met Elsa at the college and married in 1961. Each had two children from previous marriages; Elsa had two sons, Steven and David Straub, and Kreider had daughters, Wendy Kreider and Stephanie Williams. Elsa and Kreider now have nine grand children and three great grandchildren. When asked what she would miss most about Kreider, Elsa said, “Just his presence.” She added, “he was a wonderful man to be around, very knowledgeable, and the fact that we enjoyed doing things together; we traveled a lot together, read together and loved each other’s company.”
Before the institution had an actual president, Kreider served as director of the college for one year. Following his role of director, he began serving as Dean of Instruction, which he served from 1955-1970, and would give Kreider the title of Vice President today. He performed that function under the first President of the campus, Dr. Robert Haugh, and then under Dr. John McCuen, who became President in 1966. Kreider also held the position of Chief Executive Office for one year, from 1965 to 1966, and taught in the Lifelong Learning Seminar Program. When asked what he would most be missed by, Superintendent/President John A. Davitt said, “his dedication to the college.”
After Kreider retired in 1970, he and Elsa remained active contributors toward the campus and attended many college events. They were both present at the school’s 75th Anniversary in September of 2003.
“Ever since he retired, he has been a major contributor to the college,” said Davitt.
In 1987, because of the significant impact Kreider made on the college, the school’s Kreider Lecture Hall was named after him. In 1991, on their 30th anniversary, Kreider and Elsa decided to establish the John and Kreider Scholarship Fund, which is given out to a student each year. The scholarship is for students who are studying to become teachers, preferably at elementary schools.
“We decided that we did not need a present for ourselves and decided to give our present to some deserving students,” said Elsa. “He always said that if he had to choose a profession, he would always choose teaching.”