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Frederic A. Krahn, East Meadow librarian, dies at 93

In Frederic A. Krahn's house, paying for a book could stir some controversy.

It wasn't that Krahn didn't like the written word. Far from that.

He was a librarian. Books should be borrowed and shared.

"Buying books was considered a mortal sin in our house," said Krahn's son, Rick Krahn, of Syosset. "We didn't have a lot of books."

The elder Krahn, who was among the first employees at the East Meadow Public Library in 1955 and retired as assistant director there in 1983, died last month at age 93.

Libraries played a part in many aspects of his life.

"He was always a person of the book," said Loretta E. Kelleher, of Freeport, an assistant reference librarian who has worked at the East Meadow library since 1963.

Frederic Krahn was born in Milwaukee in 1917, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a bachelor's degree in history and met his wife, Mildred, when they worked together at the Milwaukee Public Library.

They moved east so he could attend Teachers College at Columbia University, where he earned a master's in library science.

"He had a lifelong quest for knowledge," Rick Krahn said. "He would read everything he could. He would study new subjects. That was his quest. Working in the library was a way to be around people who felt similarly."

During World War II, Frederic Krahn was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Forces, the precursor to the Air Force, and had many jobs, including typist, draftsman, chaplain assistant and librarian.

In 1955 he joined the newly created East Meadow library, which was operating out of a rented storefront along Hempstead Turnpike. It eventually grew to seven storefronts, according to a book the elder Krahn wrote about the library.

As years went on, the library moved locations, built a building, won and lost town votes for funding and eventually expanded again. Krahn was there.

"He was very even-keeled and I think that's very remarkable to maintain on a daily basis with a library that was emerging and growing," Kelleher said. "He was such a gentle influence."

Krahn's wife of 63 years died in 2009. In addition to his son, Krahn is survived by a daughter, Liz Rock, of New Paltz; and four grandchildren.

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