Clarence “Red” Louis Kruger was born on May 13, 1942 to John & Evelyn (Tanck) Kruger in Pipestone, Minnesota. He attended country school before going to Pipestone High School, graduating from there in 1960. Kay (Brecher) and Red met at age 14 on the school bus, they were high school sweethearts and married on April 29, 1961. For a brief time, the couple moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he worked for the Erickson’s gas station. Their son, Todd, was born on March 17, 1962 in Sioux Falls. The couple returned to Pipestone where he began to drive truck, later purchased a welding shop, and also farmed on the side with his dad. Their daughter, Toni, was born on July 23, 1967 in Pipestone. He knew since the age of 13 that he wanted to be a truck driver. Red trucked for many companies including Weatherly Trucking, Bayliner, Ellison Meats, Coast to Coast, True Value and also trucked for himself under Kruger Trucking. After retiring from trucking he began driving school bus for Priester Bus Service. The kids on the bus loved Red and he, in his grumpy way, loved them too. He continued to drive bus until May 20, 2015 when he suffered a stroke while driving the bus back to the school to pick up kids. He was transferred to Avera McKennan and later to Bethany Nursing Home in Brandon. He was admitted to Good Samaritan in Pipestone in July of 2015. He remained there until his death on Friday, July 24, 2020 at the age of 78 years, two months, and 11 days.
Red was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pipestone. As a young adult he was a member of the Shifters Car Club and was on the pit crew for Bill Weinkauf at Huset’s Speedway. Red valued many life-long friendships with these men and they would often be seen at Lange’s Cafe on Saturday mornings for coffee. He also enjoyed being on the Class Reunion Committee for the Class of 1960.
Red was a strong, stubborn man and some may call grumpy. He would show a tough exterior but all that really knew him knew that he had a big heart and he would often be found helping move snow for the neighbors or even mowing their lawns. This may have been because he was a perfectionist and wanted the neighbor’s yards to look like his, but likely just because he wanted to do good things for people. He was also a very caring husband and helped around the house doing dishes, vacuuming, cooking, and fixing everything that broke. Their “big” yearly vacation was the week-long camping trip to Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa where he could relax, nap, and go to the tractor pull while “mother” went to the fair.
Red enjoyed lovingly tormenting his grand-daughters with 5:45 AM wake up calls, pouring water on their faces to wake them, or pinching them when they walked by. They all adored him and he taught them many things. He bragged to everyone that he had 9 grand-daughters and even the family dog was a girl! He did finally get his first grandson, Cooper, on December 23, 2019. Red usually could be found out in his garage sitting at the shop work bench smoking a cigarette. His shop was very organized and he knew the minute something was out of place or missing and would begin calling kids or grandkids to see if someone borrowed the drill, a certain screwdriver, or even an extension cord. He always said “If you put things away where they belong, you can always find them!”. He kept busy tinkering on vacuum cleaners, fixing various things that broke on the grandkid’s cars, changing out rollerblade wheels and bearings, working on dirt bikes, and many “honey-do” projects.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Kay, of Pipestone; his daughter, Toni Kruger of Pipestone; daughter-in-law, Julie Kruger of Pipestone; five granddaughters, Tara (Dusty) Johnson, Kami Foss, Katie (Keaton) Grevengoed, Karlee Kruger, Kari Foss and her significant other, Jon Hass; great-grandchildren, Destiny Foss, Racelee Johnson, Bexley Grevengoed, Rhyder Darveaux, and Cooper Grevengoed; one sister, Beverly Drewes of Iowa; many nieces and nephews, and other loving family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his son, Todd in 2010; his parents; and one brother, Darwin Kruger.