Fellow Lions Lost in Service, Gone but Never Forgotten:


Lion James Kruger (Barb)

July 20th 1951 - February 5 2017

James “Jim” Kruger, age 65, passed away on February 5, 2017, at his home in Big Lake, MN, surrounded by love. 

Jim was born on July 20, 1951, in St. Cloud, MN, to Theodore and Rosemary (Gruber) Kruger. He was raised with his eight sisters and three brothers in St. Cloud, graduating from Cathedral High School in 1969. After graduation Jim spent six years in the National Guard and also began his 48-year career in the Automotive Parts industry at National Bushing. He began dating the love of his life, Barbara “Barb” Eilers on New Year’s Eve, 1970, and they married on December 22, 1971.

In 1974, Jim was offered a job to manage the National Bushing store in Monticello, MN. In April of 1976, Jim and Barb moved to Big Lake Township with their two young children and quickly became part of the Monticello community. Their four children attended Monticello schools and Jim and Barb built many strong friendships while they raised their family.

Jim was a proud member of the Monticello Lions Club since 1979. He was Lions Club President from 1985-1986 and a recipient of the Melvin Jones Award in 1996. He loved being a Lion and considered his fellow Lion’s members as family.

Jim left his job as Manager of National Bushing in 1989 and began a new career in the Automotive Parts industry as a Manufacturer’s Representative. He spent the next 27 years traveling, selling and representing auto parts in more than six states. Jim loved his job and valued the relationships he built during his career. He was proud to work for N.A. Williams of Atlanta, GA, where he remained employed until his death. 

Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors. He looked forward to his poker night with the guys, loved his weekly dinner dates with Barb and the Friday Night Gang, and hated to miss Monday morning coffee with his buddies. But, above all else, Jim loved being a husband, father and grandfather. He was proud of the family he raised with Barb and loved to tell people of his children’s accomplishments and his grandchildren’s successes. He was a family man through and through.

Jim will live on in the hearts of his wife Barb; his four children Jason (Sarah) Kruger of Portland, OR, Shannon (John) Vento of Golden Valley, MN, Joseph (Katie) Kruger of Eagan, MN, and Stephanie (Matt) Houselog of Golden Valley, MN; eight grandchildren, Sophia, Elijah, Bella, Olivia, Jack, Maya, Desmond and Reggie; siblings Mary Kruger (Jim Berg), Kris (Ed) Peterson, Ted (Ann) Kruger, Paula (Ken) Lemke, Rose Fuchs, Martha (Sam) Blonigen, Pete Kruger, Joe (Connie) Kruger, Theresa (Andy) Lahr, Peg (Bob) Hanni; and many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his father Theodore; mother Rosemary; sister Ann (Kruger) Kittridge; and in-laws Gerald and Blanche Eilers.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 AM on Friday, February 10, at St. Henry Catholic Church, 1001 7th St. E., Monticello. Visitation will be from 4-8 PM on Thursday, February 9, 2017, with a time of sharing at 7:00 PM at the Peterson-Grimsmo Funeral Chapel, 250 East Broadway, Monticello Further visitation will be at the church for one hour prior to the service. Private interment at a later date. Memorials will be used to create a Lions Club Scholarship in Jim’s name.