Seventeen. That's how many years I've been fortunate and blessed enough to know the Krueger family. For seven I've had the same last name. For three I've been raising one. If there's one thing I know about being a Krueger, it's the love for family that trumps all. Anthony Krueger was no exception. He lit up with family around. He loved kids. He was the "fun Uncle." Every family has one. Our family will now be in short supply and it's a loss that's hitting hard.
Tony, as he liked to be called, exhibited all the defining qualities of a Krueger:
- Caring & Generous. He'd give you the shirt off his back and it wouldn't matter if you were a stranger, his neighbor, a friend or family member. I once witnessed him pay for an entire order of groceries for a complete stranger who's card was declined.
- Charming & Charismatic. He knew the value of opening doors and buying flowers. That same charm and charisma helped him build an impressive business network. His name carried weight.
- Mechanical. He was a jack of all trades. There wasn't a single thing he couldn't take apart and rebuild. He passed this on to his sons who I've watched tinker since they were toddlers.
- Busy body. The man couldn't sit still. He used that energy to be productive, both at home and at work. I could get tired just watching him.
- Work ethic. The man owned his own businesses and knew the value of sweat equity. He wasn't all high tech. He carried around a chewed up pen and a pad of paper and was boss man, customer service, and worker all in one.
- Gracious host. He loved to be surrounded by friends and family. The more the merrier and like a typical Krueger he always made sure there was enough food and refreshments to go around.
- Fun. Tony knew how to have fun. As I said earlier, he was the fun uncle. Whether it be boating, going to the board walk, or simply wrestling with his sons and nephews he made sure it was fun. Even a trip to a diner for breakfast became a laughable affair.
- The "Go Big or Go Home" mentality. No matter what he got involved in, he was 110%. He also loved buying in bulk, especially Clorox products for which we all teased him.
- Insomniac. I joke using that term but like many of his siblings, he was up at the crack of dawn and rarely went to bed before midnight. Many a vacation was spent talking into the wee hours of the morning reminiscing over stories like that time he drank a bottle of syrup or when he got lost boating with Tweds while using navigation.
I could go on and on about you Tony, but I'lI close saying this: I'm going to miss your raspy voice and nonchalant attitude. I'm going to miss your negotiating skills as to why we should stay by you versus Aunt Linda, etc. I'm going to miss fighting over the check at restaurants and hearing you say "get outta here" like you were straight out of Brooklyn. And I'm going to miss that smile that gave away when you were up to no good. You were larger than life and you knew it. Heaven gained an incredible man.
Until I see you again,