Obituary: Kaye M. (Kronenberg) Wagner

October 10, 1951 ~ April 30, 2021

Kaye M. (Kronenberg) Wagner died unexpectedly April 30, 2021 at the Medical Center in Raton, New Mexico.  She was en route from her winter residence in Tucson, Arizona to her beloved Door County, Wisconsin home.

She was born October 10, 1951, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, the only child of Ardella (Sawyer) and Fred Kronenberg.  After graduating from Beaver Dam High School in 1970, she earned her BA in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and her MS in Continuing and Vocational Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kaye had a successful career as a musician, educator and arts administrator.  Among her performance credentials were positions as principal flutist with the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs in Colorado Springs and assistant principal flute and piccolo with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra.  

As an educator, Kaye taught music and band at UW-Marathon Center, established a Suzuki Music program through the University of Louisville School of Music and was the director of the Pikes Peak Suzuki Association.  At the Kaufman Music Center’s Lucy Moses School in New York City, she served as Coordinator for Adult Education Programs.  She was also a founding board and faculty member of the Wausau Conservatory of Music.  Countless students, in both private lessons and group classes, benefitted from her talents as a teacher. 

In addition to her music, Kaye also worked in the visual arts.  She managed art exhibitions for the Society of Animal Artists, New York City and the American Academy of Equine Art, Lexington, Kentucky.

In 1998, Kaye was named the first Executive Director of Birch Creek Music Performance Center, an elite summer music academy in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin that pairs promising young musicians with world-class instructors.  Under Kaye’s leadership, Birch Creek established an Artists in the Schools outreach program and the Birch Creek Endowment.  Kaye guided the Perfect Pitch capital campaign and construction of three new campus buildings that added faculty housing, a second concert hall, a new student dorm, a maintenance facility, plus increased rehearsal, practice, and meeting spaces.  Her 14 years at Birch Creek were marked by many accomplishments which continue to benefit today’s students, faculty, concertgoers and staff.  

Kaye was a true Renaissance woman with a wide variety of talents and interests – always enthusiastic about learning new things.  She loved kayaking, swimming, knitting, gardening, reading and sharing cartoons – especially from THE NEW YORKER.  Two of her greatest passions were genealogy and quilting.  Kaye approached everything she did with high standards, quiet determination, and unfailing integrity.  She could always be counted on for her thoughtfulness, loyalty and generous spirit.  Her subtle sense of humor and infectious laugh will always be remembered.        

Kaye will live in the hearts of her aunt Natalie Sawyer; her Sawyer cousins and their families:  Donna Hein, Thomas Bishanell, Bonnie Nugent, Jon Menick, Steve Sawyer, Scott Sawyer, Tracy Nagel, Mark Sawyer; her Kronenberg cousins and their families; her in-laws, Elsie Wagner and Lynn Wagner Mehring; as well as many dear friends, fellow quilters, musician buddies and former students. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday June 25, 2021 at Stella Maris Parish-Sister Bay site with Fr. Tom Farrell as celebrant. Those in attendance are to wear facemasks. The service will be livestreamed on the “Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC” Facebook page ( Those anticipating viewing the live broadcast of Facebook are encouraged to “Like” the funeral home Facebook page any time prior to the service to receive notification (of the live broadcast). 

Family and friends may gather at the church on Friday, June 25, 2021 10:00 until the time of Mass. A reception will follow.

If you wish, memorials may be made in Kaye’s name to Birch Creek or the performing arts/music education program of your choice.

Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Kaye may be shared through her tribute page at