Lawrence Kruse, age 97, of Scenic, S.D., died Saturday, December 21, 2013, at his son’s home near Interior.
Lawrence Raymond Kruse was born in Mitchell on Aug. 31, 1916, to William and Lena Kruse. At the age of two they moved to the Badlands to a ranch eight miles north of Conata. At the age of nine his father died and Lena was left to raise her large family by herself.
In 1935, during the height of the depression, Lawrence graduated high school in Wall then left the ranch to find work elsewhere. He worked at various jobs throughout the Midwest until he received a letter from home in 1937, asking if he would come back to help Lena manage a property. It was here that he started breaking horses for extra money.
Lawrence purchased a ranch four miles west of Interior for $6 an acre from the Kansas City Life Insurance Co. The five brothers formed a partnership called the K5 that was the beginning of the Kruse ranch. Walter and Lawrence were the only two brothers that stayed and lived in the Badlands.
In 1942, Lawrence joined the war effort and after much training and work ended up being a pilot of a B-17. He would talk about his adventures for the rest of his life. He truly loved flying. He came back to the ranch after his discharge in 1946.
Lawrence met Bettylue Johanna Hammer and married her December 12, 1948. They made their home at the ranch where they raised nine children. In 1953, their second-born son, Raymond, was killed in a farm accident and changed Lawrence's direction forever. In searching for the truth, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior.
Lawrence was involved in Gideons, Cane Creek Grazing Assoc., Stock Growers Assoc., Wall E Free Church and was a board member at Sunshine Bible Academy.
Survivors include seven sons, Roger and Cheryl Kruse of Rock Springs, Wyo., Kevin and Joanne Kruse of Interior, David and Marianne Kruse of Interior, Sylvan Kruse of Kadoka, Charles and Beth Kruse of Interior, Daniel and Heidi Kruse of Interior and Philip and Amy Kruse of Interior; one daughter, Lois Kruse-Zibell and her husband, Robert, of Steamboat Springs, Colo.; 23 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Lawrence was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, on March 22, 2011; an infant son, Raymond Kruse; seven sisters, LaVonne Green, Evelyn Kruse as an infant, Alice Kruse, Minnie Geller, Anne Goard, Hannah Kruse, and Edith Kruse; five brothers Forrest, Clifford, William “Bill”, Walter and Bernard Kruse.
Funeral services were held Monday, December 23, at the Interior Community Church with Pastor Bill Auckamp officiating.
Ushers were Reid and Marshal Kruse. Pallbearers were Roger, Kevin, David, Charles, Daniel, Philip and Sylvan Kruse and Justin Hornbaker.
Interment with military honors was at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Quinn.
A memorial has been established.
Arrangements were with the Rush Funeral Home of Philip.
His online guestbook is available at www.rushfuneralhome. com