Kenneth Kruse dearly loved his country, his family. and above all, God. Colonel Kenneth Kruse, United States Air Force (RET), peacefully peased away at home on February 28, 2015, after a brief illness. Ken was born in La Porte City, Iowa, on October 5, 1923. He graduated from La Porte City High School where he met and eventually married his beloved wife, Emmooene Kruse.
After high school, Ken joined the Air Force and enjoyed a long career as a command pilot with over 5,000 flying hour. With an unrivaled passion for flying, Ken claimed he never “worked” a day in his entire career. Ken’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Alr Force Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, World War II American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Air Force Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star Device, and the Republic or Vietnam Campaign Medal.
During his career, Ken also completed his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and his Masters Degree from George Washington University, where he studied International Relations. Ken retired in 1974 with 31 years of active duty. After retirement, Ken moved to Redlands, California, and spent many years in property management.
Ken was an active member of the Redlands United Methodist Church and Order of Daedalians, the national fraternity of commissioned military pilots. He participated in Redlands Meals on Wheels for 25 years with his wife, Em. He was also a member of the Military Officers Association of America and a member of the Redlands Horticulture Society consistently producing First Place Blue Ribbons for navel oranges, blood oranges and lemons. His hobbies included fishing, golfing and playing cribbage. He also was an avid car collector. Ken loved attending garage sales and restoring and and selling almost anything. His passion for tending his garden and citrus orchard, and yard maintenance were daily rituals. Always leading by example, Ken aspired to instill within his children and grandchildren the importance of a strong work ethic, impeccable integrity, goal setting and loyalty. He touched the hearts of many with his loyal friendship, heartfelt stories, and willingness to always lend words of wisdom or a helping hand. Ken was dearly loved and will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his wife of seventy years. Emmogene Kruse; his son, Jerry, and Alice Kruse or San Antonio, Texas; his grandchildren, Mason and Kelly Kruse of Fort Worth, Texas, and Mary Emma and Matt Hawthorne of Dallas, Texas; his great-grandchildren, Ellie and Kaleb Kruse, and Oliver and Greta Hawthorne; his son, David Kruse of San Jacinto, California; his grandchildren, Courtney and Robert Lewis of Gill, Colorado, and Chelsea and Adam Tenney of Oceanside, California; his great-grandchildren, Robert and Ellee Lewis, and Everson Tenney; his daughter, Jennifer Kruse of Redlands, California; his grandchildren, Christopher Lebel of Redlands, California, and Katie Lebel of Atlanta, Georgia; brother Dean Kruse of Sequim, Washington, and sister Cleo Hackerson of Cedar Falls, Iowa.