Reverend Theodore E. Krueger Jr., 91, of Portage, entered into eternal life on July 4, 2018, at home.
Ted was born in Mellen, on Jan. 8, 1927, the first child of Theodore (Sr.) and Frieda (Leitl) Krueger, of Glidden. He was baptized and confirmed by his future father-in-law, Pastor William Brockopp at Trinity Lutheran Church in Glidden. He graduated from Glidden High School, and was drafted into the army in 1945. Soon after his discharge, he felt the call to the Christian ministry, and attended the seminary in Springfield, Illinois.
Ted married Darlene Brockopp on Aug. 3, 1952, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Forestville, officiated by Darlene’s father. He spent his vicarage year at the Lutheran Church of St. John in Angola, New York, from 1954 to 1955. He received his Master of Divinity in 1956.
His first call to serve in the parish ministry was at Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he was ordained in August 1956. Since there was a significant German-speaking population, weekly services were held in English and German. In 1959, he accepted a call to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fall Creek, and Zion Lutheran Church in Seymour Township. In 1968, the family moved to Marshfield, where Ted served Immanuel Lutheran Church. He was called to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Westfield, in 1973, until he retired in 1995.
As part of his pastoral duties, Ted especially enjoyed ministering to the elderly in his congregation, and found that his early experience in German often helped him to connect with them.
The farm never completely left Ted, as the family always had one or more gardens. He loved raising vegetables, including many varieties of tomatoes. He enjoyed planting fruit trees as well, with grafts of different varieties. Ted’s recreation often included a trip to the local lake or stream, angling for many types of freshwater fish, outsmarting trout using flies he had tied himself. He looked forward to the annual deer hunt with friends from the congregation inviting him and his family to hunt on their land.
In 1992, Ted and Darlene traveled to Riga, Latvia, to help renovate a house for broadcasting the Lutheran Hour program to listeners in Russia. Following their return home, they became significantly involved in the early formation of the humanitarian aid organization, Orphan Grain Train. Ted and Darlene received much joy in gathering and sending material resources to help people around the world. In 1996, they had the opportunity to visit China, where he was asked to pray at the dedication of the new facility for printing Chinese Bibles. During the trip, Ted had the opportunity to preach the Gospel message to many hundreds of people at a Sunday service at the “Full Of Grace” Church.
In 1995, Ted and Darlene, after 39 years of ministry, retired and made their home in Portage. Ted served St. John’s congregation by visiting the elderly and shut-ins, as long as he was able. He continued to be involved in ministry, baptizing grandchildren and great-grandchildren until January 2018, when he baptized great-grandson, Isaiah Hill.
During the summer of 2010, Ted and his three sons were invited by a family friend for a fishing excursion in Alaska. Ted laid claim to pulling in the largest salmon, with videos and pictures to prove it.
In April 2012, Ted’s son-in-law, Bob Thalacker, accompanied him on a Badger Honor Flight, where Wisconsin veterans visited Washington, D.C., and were recognized for service to their country.
Ted is survived by his wife of 65 years, Darlene; their seven children, (whom he often referred to as “olive plants around the table” (Psalm 128: 3b)), David (Louise) Krueger, Ted III (Jean) Krueger, Linda (Paul Jacobson) Krueger, Karla (Pastor Mark) Meier, Kathleen (late husband, Bob) Thalacker, Paul (SooYee Lim) Krueger and Joy (Micheal) Witkowski; 17 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; five sisters and one brother. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frieda and Theodore Krueger Sr.; his parents-in-law, Pastor William and Martha Brockopp; son-in-law, Bob Thalacker; two brothers, Rhine and Bill; and two sisters, Carol and Caroline.
He is greatly missed by his family and friends, being comforted by the assurance of being united with him one day in eternal life.
Visitation will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 8, at Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home, Portage.
A Christian Celebration of his life service will be held at 11 a.m. July 9, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 850 Armstrong St., Portage.
Burial will be at Springfield Cemetery, north of Westfield, on County Road CH, near 5th Road, following the funeral luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be made to Orphan Grain Train (P.O. Box 1466, Norfolk, NE, 68702-1466, www.ogt.org) or St. John’s Lutheran Ministries (850 Armstrong St., Portage, WI, 53901, www.stjohnsportage.com).
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage (www.pmmfh.com) is assisting the family.