Corrine Julia Kroening

Corinne Julia Davids was born at home on the banks of Big Lake. She was nicknamed Keen when she was little. She was the ninth child and the youngest girl of Elmer and Eureka Davids. Her family moved to the tribal lands in the town of Bartelme where Corinne attended the government school located in the Community Building on the reservation.

During World War II her family moved to Sturgeon Bay where her parents worked in the shipyards and Corinne attended school. Returning home after the war, she attended Bowler Schools from grades 7 through 12. Corinne loved school and didn’t miss a day during her high school years (although they sometimes had to take her home after roll call because she was ill).

Corinne’s mother gave piano lessons to several kids in the community and she sat Corinne down at the piano and gave her lessons. She always sang when her mother played and she learned to sing alto. She played the piano for the High School Chorus and later, after her marriage, for the church choir. She also played the accordion, perhaps with a band called Pits and His Pals.

During her high school years, a young man named Marvin Kroening, who played the trumpet in Pitts and His Pals, came into her life through a "match-maker." Marvin came to see her frequently, but her mother said she could not get married until she finished high school. They were married the day after her graduation. During her 29 1/2 years of marriage to Marvin, they lived in Marion, Wisconsin and had five children: Sherry, Kathy, Judy, Karla and Mike. Corinne also held several part time jobs including 13 years at Grimm’s Restaurant doing whatever had to be done.

Marvin died as a result of an automobile accident, which left Corinne devastated for a couple of years. Remembering that she loved school, her sister Dot suggested that if she wanted to return to school, she should come to Madison. Corinne was 47 years old and the Marion High School counselor did not encourage her. However, the Stockbridge-Munsee Education Counselor asked which college she would like to attend. Corinne said, "Edgewood, in Madison." She applied and was accepted.

When Corinne decided she wanted to be a nurse, she had to take some make-up courses she hadn’t taken in high school such as algebra, chemistry, and statistics. She studied hard and earned a 3.9 GPA (out of a possible 4.0). She also volunteered to work with Hospice and in the College Library. As an Elder she chided other students to stay in class and to study harder, and she even became a tutor at the request of some professors.

In 1988, when she graduated, three of her now adult children came and participated in the ceremony. The other Edgewood graduates and their parents gave Corinne a standing ovation. After three days of intensive testing in Milwaukee, Corinne passed the State Boards and became a Registered Nurse.

Now she needed a job. She prepared her resume and sent it to various places, including Homme Home in Wittenberg. A few days later, when she came home, she found a note that said "Call Homme Home." She was hired right after her interview. After three months, she discovered that she was the only RN on the job and she was made a Supervisor. Corinne says that some of the staff thought she was "mean" but others saw her as strict and meaning what she said.

While working at Homme Home, Corinne administered medicines to several Stockbridge-Munsee who were there, including her three sisters Margaret, Bernice and Dot. After thirteen years driving from Marion to Wittenberg, and at the age of sixty-eight, Corinne retired from Homme Home.

She now spends much of her time knitting, crocheting, playing the chimes in St. John’s Lutheran Church, singing in the choir, visiting a sick friend, and visiting her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

Corinne told her younger fellow students to "stay in class and study harder" and told her own children to go "one step at a time" in school. When she went back to school after so many years and succeeded, she became a model for others, old or young, thinking of continuing their education. As a local bank teller, who is now a surgical nurse, said when considering going back to school: "If Corinne can do it, I can do it."