Walter Edwin Kroeker was born at Winkler in 1915, to Abram Arthur and Elizabeth Kroeker, the oldest of nine children. In 1928, the family moved to a farm southeast of Winkler. He completed high school in Winkler, attended Winkler Bible Institute and took courses in agriculture at the University of Manitoba and University of Minnesota.
He married Madeline Epp in 1940 and they have four children; Marlyce, Wally, Allan and Randy.
Walter Kroeker was a partner in the family farm of A. A. Kroeker & Sons from 1936 on. They were pioneers in the production of corn and seed potatoes. The farm was incorporated in 1955 and today is one of the largest potato producers in Manitoba. He was a director and officer of Kroeker Farms Ltd. and of Kroeker Seeds Ltd. until his retirement in 1989. During this period, he also served as a director and officer of other family farm-related corporations involving poultry and feed services.
He was the founding president of the Vegetable Growers’ Association of Manitoba from 1953 – 1955. When this co-operative became the Manitoba Vegetable Producers’ marketing Board, he was secretary and director from 1972-1987.
Mr. Kroeker was also chairman of the Pembina Valley Development Association in 1953, and was a director of the Canadian Water Resources Association.
He served as a director of the Canadian Horticultural Council from 1954-1987, as president in 1967 and as a member and chair of the Trade and Tariff Committee. He was considered one of Canada’s most knowledgeable people in tariff matters and represented Canada in negotiations with the G.A.T.T. During controversy with the United States over potato exports, he traveled to Maine and Idaho to present the Canadian point of view. He was a member of the International Trade Advisory Committee from 1986 – 1988.
During the early 70s, he served for 18 months as a part – time agricultural and industrial consultant to the premier of P.E.I.
Mr. Kroeker was also active in broadcasting, beginning in 1956 as a director of Southern Manitoba Broadcasting (Altona), now Golden West Broadcasting Ltd. He was later president for many years and then chairman of the board.
Further recognition accorded to Mr. Kroeker includes:
- Manitoba “Golden Boy” Good Citizenship Award, 1966
- Vegetable Growers’ Association of Manitoba, Honourary Life Membership, 1977
- Agriculture Canada 50th Anniversary Agri-Food, Award of Excellence, 1984
- Canadian Horticultural Council, Award of Merit, 1972; Honourary Life Membership, 1985
- Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal, 1977
- Order of Canada, 1989.