Wineka column: East Spencer honors Krider for years at cafe
EAST SPENCER - During a ceremony Sunday at Northside Community Center, the town of East Spencer honored John E. Krider Sr., longtime owner of Krider's Cafe.
Krider, now retired, received a plaque from Mayor Barbara Mallett from the town "in recognition of his outstanding service and dedication to the citizens of East Spencer."
The day was both an appreciation and birthday celebration for Krider, who turned 88 last Saturday.
Krider's Cafe was always a fun place for students to go after school, whether it was the old Dunbar School or North Rowan Middle School, both of which were across the street from the restaurant known for its hamburgers, hot dogs and chili fries.
Krider's Cafe, now managed by John E Krider III, is still open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1-7 p.m.
"You and your family always provided a safe and pleasant atmosphere to everyone that entered your establishment," a letter from the Dunbar Alumni Association said recently.
Krider's parents, John Hedrick Krider and Edna Emerson Krider, started the cafe in 1946. It closed for a period before John E. Krider Sr. and his wife, Frances, reopened it in 1954.
When Frances became ill in the 1980s, their daughter, Diane, returned home to manage the cafe.
When he was 49, John Krider Sr. suffered a heart attack, but he was able to return to work for Norfolk Southern Railroad. He also worked part-time at the cafe with his wife.
"He was a workaholic," daughter-in-law Ernestine Krider said. "He loved his family and children. For an hour or two several days of the week, he would allow students to come in and dance.
"A good-hearted, kind person, Mr. Krider and Frances fed a lot of children who came to the cafe with no money. He often gave away food to people in need."
Ernestine Krider said she found it difficult at times to get information from Krider for Sunday's recognition "because he's a humble and quiet person - not given to boisterous talk about himself and what he's done."
"But some family members did tell me that Mr. Krider was very meticulous about his work and doing a task well," Ernestine said. "He would hire people to paint or do carpentry work. If John didn't like the job, he would redo the job himself."
John Sr. continues to show up at the cafe.
"Though Mr. Krider is disabled and ill, he still comes in to micomanage, dictate and just make sure everything is right," Ernestine Krider said. "If the ingredients and taste are not to his specifications, he would tell John, 'We're not opening today!' Although he is just sitting around in the background and constantly checking the chili, this really keeps him going."
The Krider family said John Sr. has always enjoyed cooking. When they were children, his sister Novella (now deceased) said, John would start cooking as soon as their parents left the house.
John Krider Sr. was born Oct. 6, 1924, and he graduated from Dunbar High School. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy from June 18, 1943, to Jan. 20, 1946.
He was stationed for a time in Boston and also saw action in the Pacific.
Frances Krider has passed away, as has his daughter, Elizabeth Diane Krider Stroud. He has an older son, also named John - the Rev. John L. Krider, who is married to Norzely Krider.
He has three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Four of his six siblings are deceased. Living are Elizabeth Krider Wardlaw of New York and Roosevelt Krider of Charlotte.
John Krider Sr. also was a surrogate father to a niece, Sandra Smith, and a nephew, the late William Krider.
He is a member of Shady Grove Baptist Church, and he enjoys listening to gospel music.