Chuck Kraus, 93, died Monday at Lake Winona Manor. Chuck was born in Manly, Iowa, on April 18, 1921, the son of Charles Sr. and De Etta (Huhn) Kraus.
He graduated from high school in Wesley, Iowa, in 1939, he claims at the top of his class — of ten. He attended the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, majoring in mechanical engineering, but was drafted into the army in 1942. He served until 1946, beginning at Camp Maxey (Paris, Texas) and ending in France and Germany until the German surrender. Shortly after the Japanese surrender, he became ill with TB while stationed in Switzerland.
In 1948 he worked at Kresge’s Dimestore in downtown Des Moines. When asked how he met his wife, Chuck, who was 6’4”, claimed he asked the tallest girl to dance at a Valentine Day dance. She accepted and 16 months later he married Marlys Jean Staveley on June 26, 1949, at the Congregational Church of Traer, Iowa. Chuck was a devoted husband to Jean until her death at St. Anne’s Extended Healthcare in 2005.
Chuck and Jean owned and operated Kraus’ Department Store on Main Street in Kiester from 1950 to 1982, where they lived and raised three children, retiring in 1982 to Bull Shoals, Ariz. Although Chuck found small-town department store business to be difficult and time-consuming, he was active on many church and community committees, serving as Superintendent of Sunday School at Grace United Methodist Church for many years. He also co-chaired the 75th Kiester Anniversary Celebration. Fun times for Chuck’s family began when he bought a Teepee pop-up camper in 1963, and every year after that the family took week-long travel vacations to various states.
Chuck and Jean lived in Bull Shoals in a house overlooking the reservoir until moving to Winona in 2001. Chuck enjoyed their 19 years in Arkansas by being active in church, gardening, boating, swimming, fishing, and playing tennis.
Besides Jean, he was preceded in death by a sister, Dorothy (Harold) Brooke, and a brother Don (Jeanne). Chuck is survived by daughters Barb (Rand) Claussen of Lauderdale, Minn., and their children Anne and Stephanie; Diane (Greg) Hanke of Winona, and their children Steven (Chelsea) and Christopher; and a son Bruce (Pamela) Kraus of Ogden, Utah, and their children Nichole and Charles.
A funeral service to celebrate Chuck’s life will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church, 114 West Broadway, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 7. The service will be preceded by a visitation at 9 a.m. at the church. A brunch at the church will follow the service. Internment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery. Pastor Dale Arendt will preside at the church. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be given to Wesley United Methodist Church.
Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com. Services entrusted to Fawcett-Junker Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Winona, Minn., and Fountain City, Wis.