Timothy Winn Krebs, 63, formerly of Silver St., Greenfield died on Saturday March 13, 2021 at Charlene Manor Extended Care Facility of complications from End Stage Parkinson's Disease. Born March 17, 1957 in Washington, DC, Tim died just four days shy of his 64th birthday. The son of US Foreign Service diplomats, Max and Esther (Winn) Krebs, Tim spent most of his childhood abroad, living and attending schools in five different countries which included: Manila, Philippine Islands; Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Guatemala City, Guatemala; The Panama Canal Zone and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After graduating from the American International School in Buenos Aires, Tim attended Princeton University where he graduated cum laude in 1979. For several years after, Tim, a musician who dreamed of playing music professionally, pursued this path with his band. But this path was not to be, and he turned to law instead, entering University of North Carolina Law School at Chapel Hill where he completed several semesters.
Tim was a young man with a brilliant mind and an expansive range of interests including history, political science, music and the media. He was also a gifted jazz piano player; wrote poetry and fiction; enjoyed some dabbling in journalism; and was a connoisseur of words. But as sometimes tragically happens, a brilliant mind suffers a breakdown and then becomes tortured. Tim became ill while in law school, and the depth of his illness was a devastating and cruel struggle for many years of his life. Eventually diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, Tim, living in North Carolina, spent many years on and off of different medications that would each eventually stop working for him, and in and out of hospitals and therapeutic settings.
Even though Tim became severely ill and many of his dreams for the future were shattered, he was incredibly resilient. He once wrote: "I think I have the faith of two St. Georges (the man who slew the dragon). Despite having to drop out of law school when a breakdown devastated me, I decided that something good would come my way — and it did, when I discovered I could write for a living."
And it did. In the early years of his illness, Tim worked as a reporter/wire editor for the Sanford Herald (NC) and as a free lance writer/journalist with articles published in various papers and periodicals including the Raleigh News and Observer, Pinehurst (NC) Magazine and the Princeton Alumni Quarterly. He was happiest when he was writing.
Finally in his early 40's, Tim began a medication that continued to work for him and he was able to maintain some ongoing stability in his life. In 2001 he moved to Greenfield to live near his only sibling, Marlynn Clayton and her husband, Garry Krinsky. For a while he was an active member of the Green River House, writing occasionally for their newsletter, The Current. Then he was dealt another cruel twist of fate — Early Onset Parkinson's Disease.
For the next 20 years, Tim suffered through the progression of this debilitating disease. But again he fought and with every blow, he managed to adapt and courageously carry on. He never gave up on his dreams which gave him the strength to meet each new heartbreaking challenge with hope and dignity. He once wrote: "The future means everything — I hold nothing in reserve, if it means providing for some control of my life."
Tim was fiercely independent but as his Parkinson's progressed, he needed more help to live his life and be safe in his home. During this time Tim was fortunate to have three very special care-givers. Linda Clarke and Tim made each other laugh — she through her gentle teasing and he through his dry wit. Dan McGrail and Steve Koziol were his two main care-givers for 11 years. Steadfast and compassionate, they gave Tim excellent care that allowed him to do the activities that enriched his life and to live as independently as possible. Having similar interests, Tim also shared a friendship with them which would often involve lengthy conversations about music, books or life and its vagaries.
Tim was a man of words who loved playing with language and its meanings. Those who knew him appreciated and remember with fondness his dry wit and the twinkle in his eye when he was about to say something clever or funny that would make you laugh! Tim loved books and was always a reader, making weekly trips to the library. When he began to lose his ability to communicate either through writing or speaking, he became a voracious reader, devouring many books in a week and each week he would wait with great anticipation for the arrival of his beloved New Yorker magazine.
Tim loved jazz and rock — that's what he played himself and that's the music he listened to. His all time favorite band was YES but he also loved the Beatles and knew the words and music to all their songs. He enjoyed singing and could often be heard humming tunes to himself. When speaking became so difficult, singing was a relief — the words came out clearly and smoothly — no problems. The last few years he greatly enjoyed singing with Healing Harmonies Choir, a singing group designed for individuals with diagnosed neurological conditions.
Worried about his growing need for 24/7 care and a growing sense of isolation in his home, Tim moved to Charlene Manor. There he found the care he required, and the attention and appreciation he wanted and deserved. The staff at Charlene including the nurses, the CNA's, the Rehab staff and the administration were all wonderful to Tim. He felt the camaraderie of a small community. His family is forever grateful for that.
No matter the cruel and difficult challenges in his life, in the end Tim's good heart and sensitive, gentle soul always shown through. He was dealt an incredibly lousy deck of cards in life but in spite of all that he brought laughter and love into this world.
He will be dearly missed by his sister, Marlynn Clayton and her husband, Garry Krinsky, his nephew, Sasha Clayton-Schapiro and his wife Sara and Tim's great nephew, their baby Joshua Clayton-Schapiro as well as all those who knew him and his smile. He was predeceased by his father, Max V. Krebs and his mother, Esther Winn Krebs.
Services will be private. Gifts in his name can be made out to the Greenfield Public Library Foundation (This is the fund for the new building.) and sent to Greenfield Public Library Foundation, ℅ Greenfield Public Library, 402 Main St., Greenfield MA 01301.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Kostanski Funeral Home. For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.