Ira L. Kruger (1933 - 2016)

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Kruger went home to be with the Lord on Sept. 11, 2016, with his wife and daughters at his side. He was born in Stephensport, Ky., to Ira and Lucille Hickerson Kruger on Sept. 6, 1933. Following graduation from high school, he moved to Illinois in search of work. There he met his wife, Katherine Wright, and they were married Oct. 22, 1955. He joined the U.S. Air Force on March 4, 1954, and served at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, until November 1961, when he transferred to Kessler Air Force Base, Miss., until October 1963, when he was transferred to Thule Air Force Base, Greenland. Following a year at Thule AFB, he was once again assigned to Lackland AFB until 1967, when he transferred to Vance Air Force Base, Okla. He served there for one year and was transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where he finished out his 20 years and retired on April 1, 1974. Following his USAF retirement he worked for them as a civilian until his and his wife's retirement in 1992. He was a sports enthusiast and loved his Kentucky Wildcats and the St. Louis Cardinals. While in high school, he played basketball and softball. He played fast pitch softball for the U.S. Air Force and was offered a contract with the Clearwater, Fla., Bombers in 1959. He was all Air Force as a catcher and coached the Armed Services team 1970 - 1974. He also refereed high school and college basketball in Alaska. He loved hunting and fishing in Alaska. His greatest joy was fishing on the Kenai River and he caught a trophy King Salmon that weighed 65 pounds. Though he killed many moose over the years, his great trophy was a 72" moose that landed him in Boone and Crockett for three years. He was a Baptist by belief and was an ordained Deacon and Minister. Wherever he was stationed he became a part of a local church. After his Air Force retirement he helped start the First Baptist Church of Wasilla, Alaska, and worked with them through two building programs. In 1999, he and his wife became volunteers and worked in three different children's camps in Alaska during the summer months, and then spent the winters in Texas working in a Baptist camp down there. He was a member of Friendship Baptist Church in Hardinsburg, Ky. He was preceded in death by his son, Terrence; his parents; four sisters; and one brother. He is survived by his wife, Katherine; daughters, Cynthia Hammer of Fairbanks, Alaska, and Janice Davis of Salem, Ore.; four grandchildren, Alissa Way of Fairbanks, Erica Rothenbuhler of Gulfport, Fla., and Laken and Colten Kruger of Port Orchard, Wash.; seven great-grandchildren; one sister, Lynda Smith of Hardinsburg, Ky.; and one brother, Leo Kruger of Minden, Nev. Funeral services in Kentucky were held on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, at 11 a.m. at Trent-Dowell Funeral Home with Rev. Bob Sharp and Rev. J D Holt officiating. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, from 4:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Funeral services in Alaska will be held on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, at 11 a.m. at Valley Funeral Home, 151 East Herning Ave., Wasilla, AK 99654, following the services there will be a burial with military honors that will be held at 1:30 p.m. at Fort Richardson National Cemetery, East Valor Drive, Anchorage, AK 99505. Visitation will be held on Sunday Sept. 18, 2016, at Valley Funeral Home from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. The family requests donations to Friendship Baptist Church Building Fund, in lieu of flowers or memorials.
Funeral Home
Valley Funeral Home & Crematory
151 East Herning Avenue
Wasilla, AK 99654
(907) 373-3344
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Published in Anchorage Daily News on Sept. 17, 2016
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