Caroline Wagner Krebs
Caroline Wagner Krebs

Caroline Wagner Krebs, 83, died Aug. 27, 2014, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Caroline lived a full and adventurous life. She was professor of history and political science, first at Eastern Kentucky University then at Bellarmine College. She was on the board of directors of New Directions Housing Corp., serving as acting director for a short period. She was associate editor at The Louisville Courier-Journal, then moved to New York where she developed a peace education program that was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly.

She went on to be publisher of an international media guide and magazine. For 18 wonderful years, she was the proprietor of Salmagundi Books in Cold Spring, New York. She returned to Louisville in 2004. Never content to sit on the sidelines, she volunteered with The World Affairs Council, the St. William-St. Vincent de Paul Conference and Louisville Public Media. She was honored to receive a Bell Award in 2007 for her volunteer work. Caroline loved to travel and always kept up with international events. But the true loves of her life were her five children.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Eleanor Guerin Wagner and Charles E. Wagner; sister, Anne Wagner Ely, her son, Thomas Gregory Krebs Jr., and former husband Thomas Gregory Krebs Sr.

She is survived by her four daughters, Marie Krebs O’Neil (Jon), Dorothy Krebs Sarro, Theresa Krebs (Rich), Charlotte Krebs-Holtz (Quentin); four grandchildren: Jonah O’Neil, Flannery O’Neil, Thaedra O’Neil and Tristan Krebs; two great-grandchildren; and by her sister Ellen Wagner Healey and brother Charles G. Wagner.

Her funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, at St. William Catholic Church, 1226 W. Oak St., Louisville, Kentucky, with burial at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Road, Louisville, Kentucky.

Donations in her honor may be made to the Louisville chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul or Louisville Public Media.

Behind The Story

Type: Obituary

Obituary: Reports the death of an individual, providing an account of the person’s life including their achievements, any controversies in which they were involved, and reminiscences by people who knew them.

Articles attributed to "staff" are written by the editor or a senior editor. This is typically because they are brief items based on a single source, such as a press release, or there are multiple contributors, such as a collection of photos.

8 replies on “Caroline Wagner Krebs”

  1. I loved that bookstore. Caroline’s tastes were somewhat idiosyncratic, however. One time I was looking for a specific volume of poetry and found only a shelf with maybe 10 poetry titles. It did not include what I wanted. This could not be the complete poetry section. When I asked, Caroline said, “No one reads poetry.” Oh well.

    She also did not carry books simply because they were bestsellers. They had to have some other claim to fame. So she carried no or almost no bestsellers.

    Caroline always had a tremendous selection of books dealing with local history, culture, lore and geography many published by Purple Mountain Press if I can remember. I wonder how it is doing without her.

    I miss that bookstore and I miss Caroline. Bon voyage. And my condolences to her family.

  2. Ms. Krebs bookstore was a real asset when I first moved to Cold Spring and there are a number of books I can point to on my shelves that I bought and read because I encountered them browsing her shelves. I remember her vividly. And her shop, a shop with real character and personality.

    What a long life of service and interesting projects. Condolences to her family.

  3. So much warmth and love, this lady was a pleasure to be around. Not really needing a book, I would go into her store just to talk and leave ordering some way out-of-print book, and she never failed to find it. When she got sick the first time, unable to get to her shop, I would go to her house to clear snow so she could get into town, and when her computer in the store crapped out, our friend Vinnie and I got her fixed up with an older but useful version for her business. And she was just so gracious for any favor done her.

    With great sadness, now, I remember helping her cram her plants into her little car for the trip to Louisville thinking I would never see her again. But not so Caroline; the next trip back to see friends, she called and I was so delighted when she came to see my ill wife and me. And her politics — well, her politics were just wonderful. A very classy woman.

  4. I am so sorry and so sad. Caroline was a major player in Cold Spring and major loss to the village when she left, I would go into the store every summer and tell her we were off on vacation again. We always read aloud on the vacations as our entertainment. She would give us 3 or 4 books perfect for us, an audience ranging in ages from 7 to 49 the first year. How do you find books that would be interesting for a whole family? And she kept doing it until the kids grew up, then she moved and left a void never refilled.

  5. What a pleasure to read of the “Northern Caroline,” since she was so similar to the “Southern Caroline” who cared about social justice, housing quality and community change. Saint William Church in Louisville, Kentucky was the fierce congregation that created New Directions Housing Corporation. This powerful woman was a leader in our efforts, and returned to the work upon returning to Louisville. She will be missed!

  6. I have so many wonderful memories of shopping for books at Salmagundi, from my early youth through my 20s. Caroline was always so warm and welcoming and a true, local business woman. I once needed a gift for a dinner party and I called Caroline for her help. She not only picked out the item I needed, she wrapped it and delivered it to my door, because I would arrive home later than her shop was open.

  7. My condolences to Caroline’s family. Salmagundi was indeed a bright spot on Main Street for a long time. In fact, one of the first events I attended after moving here from Boston was a book signing and reading by novelist T.C. Boyle at the bookstore. With her deep voice and no-nonsense manner, Caroline could be intimidating. But I remember having many warm, lively conversations with her as she sat on her tall perch behind the counter. As independent bookstores began vanishing one by one in Putnam County, Caroline kept going. I will always appreciate how she helped our local readers and writers.

  8. It has been so heart-warming to read all the comments from Caroline’s (Mom’s) friends whose lives she touched. I admit I laughed out loud when I read Ann’s comment about poetry. So like Mom to say “No one reads poetry”! She was a great lady who lead a very full, diverse life. She will be missed! So glad she could be a part of your lives.

Comments are closed.