FELLOWS Program founder and volunteer Ed Krentzman, left, teaches Waialae Elementary students Vivian Fung, Lexie Kajihara and Micarah Drake how to play chess as part of an educational exercise. Krentzman died Saturday at the age of 75.

Tireless tutor’s
full-time hours
dedicated to
Waialae students

To some 80 Waialae School students, losing volunteer Ed Krentzman is like losing their own grandfathers.

Fourth-grade teacher Suzanne Bernstein said they are "devastated, (and) very upset" over Krentzman's death Saturday at the age of 72 from complications from heart surgery and "miss him terribly. He was a real grandfather figure."

Bernstein, a friend whose classroom is located next to Krentzman's office, said her students regularly interacted with the full-time volunteer who started the tutoring program at the charter school in 1998.

He recently started a Homework Club in the afternoon, and always had a game room at recess, with an open bag of cookies for the taking, she said.

This was in addition to his regular tutoring duties as the founder of the FELLOWS program, which stood for Fellowship and Lifelong Learning Opportunities at Waialae School, in partnership with the Hawaii Intergenerational Network and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. Under his leadership, there are now more than 140 FELLOWS volunteers in 30 schools in the state.

He was at the school from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, a "full workday" for someone who was only volunteering, Bernstein said.

Robert Kay, who worked under Krentzman for three years as an English tutor, said he was impressed with his "low-key, self-effacing" personality and his "total devotion to these kids. He was kind of like Mr. Rogers, easygoing, very gentle. ... This was his whole life. He wasn't married" and had no children of his own.

In an article published Aug. 26, 2001, Krentzman, a Makiki resident, told the Star-Bulletin that he regarded the 400 students at Waialae as the children and grandchildren that he had always wanted.

He was given a national senior volunteer award in 2003 from Generations United in Washington, D.C.

Krentzman was born and raised in Bridgeport, Conn. He joined the Marines in 1947 for four years. He held sales positions in San Francisco and Pitney Bowes in Hawaii over a 40-year career.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe. Waialae School is also holding a celebration of his life at 5:30 p.m.

Donations may be made to the FELLOWS program, c/o HIN, 1300 Kailua Road, Kailua, HI 96734.

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