Richard "RJ" John Krause, 64, of Fairview Heights, Ill., formerly of East St. Louis, Ill., born Dec. 26, 1950, in East St. Louis, Ill., joined the great "All-Stars" in heaven on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.
RJ was a retired teacher. He was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Philip's Catholic Church in East St. Louis before it closed and then he became a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Belleville.
RJ was preceded in death by his loving parents, Raymond and Ruth, nee Fisher, Krause; his paternal grandparents, Peter and Anna, nee Kewi, Krause; his maternal grandparents, Gustave and Ruth, nee Reynolds, Fisher; and aunts, uncles, and cousins.
RJ is survived by Russell Krause, his brother/co-founder of the RJ Krause All-Stars Sports Club; an aunt, Pat Fisher; and several cousins; special friends, Victoria Stigar, Helen Anthony, Larry Duncan Allen, Rose Brown family, Rose Weilmuenster, Charlie and Ella Coburn, and Norman and Lynn Miller.
RJ attended St. Philip's Catholic School (1956-61 and 1962-64), Harding Elementary School (1961-62), Assumption Catholic High School (1964-65), East St. Louis Senior High School (1965-68), Belleville Area College (1968-70), and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (1970-72). RJ graduated from SIUE with a major in education and a minor in social studies.
RJ taught second grade for the majority of his career and retired from the East St. Louis School District in 2010. RJ's 38-year teaching career was primarily in District 189 in East St. Louis. He also did some substitute teaching early in his career. Although he never had children of his own, he was blessed with teaching and coaching more children than one can count over his lifetime. He taught at DuBoise Catholic Grade School in St. Charles, Ill., Bluffview Park in Caseyville, Woodrow Wilson in Washington Park, and Nelson Mandela in East St. Louis.
RJ was a devoted teacher. His concern for getting the very best out of his students was an important factor in his teaching style. He wanted only the best for his students and their successes made him continue to be a conscientious and caring teacher. RJ took pride in seeing his students excel in life. He taught/coached several who went on to have successful careers and some became professional sports players.
RJ was also a devoted coach for 50 years. RJ and his brother Russell established the All-Stars Sports Club in 1979. RJ coached basketball, softball, track, baseball, football, tennis, and cheerleading. He coached his 6,250th game in 2014. RJ never cared if his team won or lost, he just wanted his players to learn good sportsmanship. He also made sure everyone played the game, no matter what their skill level was. RJ officiated over 2,500 games in 30 years. He coached and played men's softball as well. Although an injury sidelined RJ for a while, he didn't let it keep him down. Unable to walk on his own due to both knees being injured, RJ coached games from his wheelchair.
RJ's accomplishments also included public service. He served as an East St. Louis Democratic Precinct Committeeman for 26 years, a St. Clair County Board Member for 20 years, and served as the East St. Louis Township Clerk for four years. RJ was proud to serve as the voice of the East St. Louis Flyers basketball and football teams. RJ wrote for the East St. Louis Monitor and he liked contributing letters to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat.
RJ achieved many accomplishments and awards over the years, including: St. Philip's Special Education Award (1971); MVP All Star Softball Game (1989); Gatorade National Coach of the Year Award (1985); St. Louis East West Gateway Award (1989); St. Louis Magazine and KMOX Radio 40 Under 40 Award and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Major Award (1990); Hardee's Hometown Hero Award (1992); Belleville News-Democrat and SIUE Kimmel Community Service Award (1993); St. Vincent de Paul Society Volunteer of the Year Award (1998); St. Louis Sports Commission Award (1999); St. Louis Ram's Quarterback Volunteer of the Year Award presented by Kurt Warner (2001); Belleville Diocese Catholic Social Service Award (2005); Co-Recipient of the East St. Louis NAACP Stellar Life Achievement Award and AAA First Impression Outstanding Citizen (2011); Bob Emig Foundation - Cathy Hill Volunteer Award (2012); Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame - Friend of Basketball Award (2013); and St. Clair County Lawyers Association Liberty Bell Award (2014).
RJ was grateful to his sponsors over the years who generously provided assistance to the RJ Krause All-Stars Sports Club. Donations from Ronald McDonald Children's Charity, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Blues, University of Missouri (Mizzou), University of Illinois (Fighting Illini), McKendree (Wild Cats), Six Flags, St. Clair County Fair vendors, Our Lady of the Snows Missionary Oblates, and all local high schools made it possible for him to take "his kids" to many sporting and recreational events over the years. "His kids" treasured these outings because without this generosity, many of these kids would never have had the chance to enjoy these events. His purpose was to get young people to become better citizens, he stressed the importance of getting a good education, saying no to drugs, gangs, violence, and vandalism. He also taught "his kids" to help senior citizens and people with special needs, to be good sports, and always follow the golden rule - treat others as you would want them to treat you. He strived to be a positive influence in their lives.
RJ never knew a stranger. He ran in to people he knew everywhere he went. It didn't matter if he knew you or not, he always asked "where did you go to high school?" RJ's favorite word was "congratulations!" His favorite item was his whistle - he was always blowing it.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Catholic Urban Program, St. Vincent DePaul, or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and will be accepted at the funeral home.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.kasslyfuneral.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, 2015, at Kassly Mortuary, Fairview Heights, Ill.
Friends may also call from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, May 4, 2015, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: Funeral services will be held at noon on Monday, May 4, 2015, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Belleville, Ill., with Father Matthew Elie officiating. Interment will be in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Belleville, Ill.
KASSLY MORTUARY, Fairview Heights, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from May 1 to May 2, 2015