Richard M. â€œDickâ€ Kratt of La Crosse, Wisconsin, died peacefully Sunday, March 18, 2012, at Mayo Clinic Health System La Crosse, Â surrounded by his children.Â Dick was born September 13, 1927, in Milwaukee to Joseph E. and Lumina (Harmon) Kratt.Â Grandpaâ€™s job took Dad to Chicago,IL; Hancock, MI; and Eau Claire before they settled in La Crosse.Â Dad went to Blessed Sacrament Grade School and Aquinas High School before leaving during his senior year to join the Navy and fight in World War II.
After discharge he went to Bradley University until he returned to La Crosse in 1948 and founded Kratt Lumber Company with his father, Joseph.Â They proudly supplied the materials for much of the new housing on the south side of La Crosse as well as structures such as Mitchell Hall and K-Mart.
Dad loved car racing of all kinds especially Nascar and Indy car.Â He fondly remembers twice being on the pit crew for Jim Sauter for the Busch races and Daytona.Â He made many life-long friends at local tracks and loved to travel to races like Kaukana and the Minnesota State Fair, once making the Indy 500.Â Dad was an avid curler, twice elected President of the La Crosse Curling Club as well as proudly owning membership in the Galesville and Centerville Curling Clubs.Â Dad loved traveling to bonspiels in other cities, especially with his longtime traveling team of Judge Twesme, Art Stenberg, Dan Wason and Ed Sullivan who always referred to him as â€œMr. Niceâ€.Â For years his rink traveled from the St. Paul Curling Club by train to a bonspiel in Winnepeg.Â Dad was a long time member of the â€œLa Crosse Plugsâ€ organization, twice serving as Chief Plug.Â He spent many great evenings of fellowship on â€œGood Neighborâ€ trips to surrounding communities.Â Dadâ€™s proudest achievement, besides raising his family, was his service to the American Legion, especially Post 52 in La Crosse, where he was a member for 66 years and an honorary life member.Â He held dual memberships in the American Legion and the SAL as well as a long-time member of the VFW.Â He held numerous leadership positions at the American Legion over the years, including House Committee and still served on the Executive Committee when he died.Â He was also still proudly serving as President of the â€œAHâ€ Club.Â He served on the Baseball Committee since 1974.Â He was a past adjutant of the 7th District and proud member of the 40 and 8 Society.Â He also served on the Firing Squad for many years.
Â Richard was united in marriage to Phyllis Mary Downey on August 25, 1948.Â They had over 50 wonderful years together until she passed away on March 28, 2000.Â Dad and Mom were overjoyed to bring into this world seven unique, loving children.
Dad was a devoted husband, loving and caring father, grandfather and great grandfather.Â Richard is survived by his children, Michael (Bev) Kratt, Katherine (Anthony) Schweiger, Phyllis (Rodney) Myhre, Karoline (Richard) Auby, Susan (James) Gitter and Jean (John) Nash; his grandchildren, Jon and Brad Erickson, David Schweiger, Suzanne Epstein, Jonathan Schweiger, Philip Schweiger, Alex and Rachel Auby, Becky, Joline and Travis Gitter and Richie and Jordan Nash as well as 21 great-grandchildren.Â Richard is also survived by his brother Bill (Maureen) Kratt and many nieces and nephews.Â
Richard was preceded in death by his loving wife Phyllis, infant son Richie and granddaughter Samantha Nash.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, March 22, at 12:00 Noon at the Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home 1501 West Ave. South. Â Msgr. Bernard Mc Garty will officiate with burial with military honors to follow at the Catholic Cemetery.Â Family and friends may call at the funeral home on Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services.
A celebration of his life will follow the cemetery service at the American Legion Post 52 Clubhouse, 711 S. 6th St.Â We welcome family and friends to come and help us celebrate the life of this wonderful man.
Memorials Â may be given to the Freedom Honor Flight (which it was his honor to have participated in the first flight from La Crosse), Post 52 Baseball, or the American Legion Post 52.