RICHARD KRUEGER (1922 - 2019)

  • "I worked in Activities at Brookdale Galleria and Mr...."
    - Kathy SMITH
  • "I met Dick only a few times and was always taken with his..."
    - Kathy Clark
  • - Noonie Zuber Schmidt
  • "Although I never met Dick, I felt like I knew a little of..."
    - Karen Estes
Service Information
Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors
1010 Bering Drive
Houston, TX
Memorial service
Monday, Nov. 18, 2019
3:00 PM
St. Martin's Episcopal Church
717 Sage Road
Houston, TX
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KRUEGER--Richard James "Dick". Longtime Houston stage, screen and radio performer Richard James "Dick" Krueger, 97, passed away October 21, 2019, in Houston. Born July 26, 1922, in Keokuk, Iowa, to Waldo and Ruth Krueger, he and his family later resided in Nauvoo, IL, and St. Louis, where he performed with the city's famed Municipal Opera, singing in 72 shows over six summers. A World War II veteran, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving on the U.S.S. Bates, and took part in the Normandy invasion. In 1949, he joined the original national touring production of "Oklahoma!" He played Will Parker, proclaiming "Everything's up to date in Kansas City." After two years of touring, he left the show, ironically moving to Oklahoma City. There he was introduced to orchestra leader Henry King, who hired him, debuting in San Francisco at the famed Top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. A few months later, Mr. Krueger settled in Houston. Glenn McCarthy, famed Houston oilman turned hotelier, signed Henry King and his orchestra to open the Shamrock and become its signature entertainment. Mr. Krueger was heard regularly at the Shamrock's Cork Club and International Club. He was featured for many years on the "Sunday at the Shamrock" national radio broadcasts. He also hosted his own radio show on Houston's KXYZ. He spent more time interviewing celebrities at the Shamrock's poolside than he did in the station's studio. Mr. Krueger sang vocals for the Henry King Orchestra at the Washington, D.C. inaugural balls of both President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Years later at President Johnson's inaugural soiree, he introduced the song, "Lady Bird," backed by King's band to the pleasure of the first lady. In Los Angeles, he recorded six record sides for RCA Victor including "Many Happy Returns of the Day," "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" and "I'm Alone Because I Love You." Mr. Krueger sang these, and a variety of songs, during an appearance on Don McNeil's Breakfast Club radio show in Chicago. Mr. Krueger formed his own band, the Dick Krueger Orchestra, after Henry King's retirement. He toured the band around the U.S. and performed at extended engagements in various cities. While friends and family teased him that he never worked a day in his life due to his seemingly bon vivant lifestyle, Mr. Krueger hustled. He jokingly added a tagline to his brand: "Available for weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs and other occasions," which proved to be a lucrative business. On any given weekend since the early 1950s, the always ecumenical Mr. Krueger could be heard singing Friday evenings at a synagogue, with his fellow Catholics at Saturday evening Mass, and leading the tenor section on Sunday mornings at St. Martin's Episcopal Church. Bill Roberts, Houston's first gossip columnist, wrote: "The kid may not know where he's going, but he's sure not taking any chances." Mr. Krueger was St. Martin's first choir member. He served for 58 years as a tenor soloist and section leader. Ever the professional, he "retired" from active choir duty at age 92. Mr. Krueger was immortalized in two best-selling novels: Thomas Thompson's true crime stunner "Blood and Money", and Anton DiSclafani's "The After Party," set within the very prosperous and romantic post-war 1950s Houston society. Mr. Krueger is survived by his longtime partner of nearly 30 years, best friend and loyal caregiver, Robert "Bobby" Meehan of Houston. He also is survived by numerous loving relatives of California: brother-in-law, Michael Martini of Pacific Palisades; nieces and nephews, Barbara Martini Laubacher (Tom) of Oxnard; Eileen Martini McCranie of Newbury Park; Msgr. Richard Martini of Carpinteria; James Martini (Michele) of Reseda; and Joseph Martini (Jennie) of Mill Valley; and an ever-growing crowd of grand and great-grandnieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Elaine Martini, and niece, Kathleen Martini. The family wishes to thank all of Dick's caregivers at Brookdale Galleria for their dedication and love for their very own "Young and Adorable Mr. Krueger." A memorial service will be at 3pm, Monday, November 18, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. A reception for family and friends will follow in the Bagby Parish Hall.

Published in The New York Times on Nov. 10, 2019
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