Longtime campus librarian, UC Berkeley alumnus dies

Deborah Stalford / UC Berkeley /Courtesy
Transportation librarian Dan Krummes

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Dan Krummes, a UC Berkeley alumnus, former director of the campus Institute of Transportation Studies Library and longtime dog-lover, died of cancer last week. He was 62.

After entering UC Berkeley in 1968, Krummes began his 30-year career with the ITS library in 1976, ultimately advancing to the positions of chief cataloguer, co-director and finally director of the library from 1998 to 2006 when he retired.

In the office Krummes shared with co-workers while working for the library, transportation posters lined the walls and airplanes hovered from the ceiling ­— reflective of the passion he had for transportation history, said colleague Seyem Petrites, who met him in 1976.

“He was very patient and at the same time would encourage you to try doing different ways of doing things,” Petrites said. “(The library) was a place where everyone was welcomed, whether you be a faculty member or student.”

In 2005, Krummes was named “Distinguished University Librarian,” the most prestigious honor given to campus librarians.

As director, Krummes made it one of his goals to enhance unity between employees in the campus library and at other libraries. He helped develop a cookie hour at the ITS on Fridays geared at fostering an environment of camaraderie. He also worked to advance collaboration between the ITS and smaller transportation libraries across the country that are often isolated by how specialized they are.

Current ITS library director Rita Evans remembers Krummes for his respect and compassion for co-workers.

“I can remember we had some budget cuts a few years ago, and he had been told he was gonna have to cut a couple of clerical employees,” Evans said. “I actually saw he had tears in his eyes in trying to deal with this situation.”

Even outside of the job, Krummes was a maritime-history buff and avidly collected china from steamships along the Great Lakes, which he displayed in a china cabinet in the office. This interest developed into a passion, and he published a reference book on the subject in 1997 entitled “Dining on Inland Seas: Nautical China from the Great Lakes Region of North America.”

Douglas Brookes, Krummes’ partner of 36 years, described him as a lover of Italian opera, a “New Yorker” enthusiast and an excellent cook. Krummes’ favorite television shows were “I Love Lucy” and “Green Acres.”

Over the course of 12 years, Krummes volunteered for Hopalong Animal Rescue in Oakland, where he interviewed potential owners and matched hundreds of dogs with adoptive candidates.

“He combined high-quality professional work mixed with a great sense of fun and a huge heart for dogs,” Brookes said.

Krummes will not soon be forgotten.

“He shared his heart with the world,” said Petrites. “He was a good friend to many people and was always there for his friends. He’s missed very much by a lot of people.”

Contact Gladys Rosario at [email protected].