Richard “Dick Kruso” Kruszewski, surrounded by adoring and loving family, passed away on November 4th, 2022, just one month shy of his 88th birthday.
Pages could be filled with thoughts and memories of Richard. He lived a phenomenal, full life, and he was the best father, grandfather, great-grandfather, husband, friend, and mentor one could imagine. To everyone who knew him, he was an idol and an icon.
Born to Ignatius and Marie (Szocinski) in South Bend, Indiana in December of 1934, Richard was the youngest of three children, brother to Gloria and Dorothy. He graduated from Central High School and enlisted in the Navy, serving on the U.S.S. Midway (CV-41). Upon honorable discharge, he returned home and soon met Lorraine Van Bergen. Before long they were married, and together they began a love story that spans 66 years of marriage. They have four children, Rick, Ron, Kathy, and Bob, and they are “Nana and Jaja” to their 12 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren (so far).
With a young family in tow, Richard began a career as a barber, but he quickly perceived there was more money styling women’s hair than buzzing men’s, so he went to school to become a master beautician. Always a hustler, he supplemented his income by playing pool and cards — at least, that’s the extent of what he explained to Lorraine.
At the age of 33, Richard decided to become a fireman. He realized that a fireman’s work schedule, which consisted of long shifts followed by days off, allowed him to have yet another job, so he established “Kruso’s Lawn Service” on the side. Three jobs, long hours, side hustles — Richard did whatever it took to provide for his family, and he still found time to pull the kids waterskiing on the lake.
Over sixty years ago, Richard bought property on Christie Lake, in Lawrence, Michigan, which would become a favorite destination for his family and friends. Every summer, he would move Lorraine and the kids “to the lake,” while commuting 50 miles on his motorcycle back to work.
After 20 years of service in the fire department — almost to the day — Richard retired at the age of 53. With the children grown and educated, Richard redefined what it means to enjoy retirement. He was a joy to watch as he grew a ponytail, pierced his ear for a diamond stud, bought a Harley, and become one of the earliest proponents for legalizing cannabis. His home at Christie Lake became a “speakeasy” for his friends. Asked what his favorite kind of beer was, he would always answer “cold.”
Kruso had countless friends, never met a stranger, and would not hurt a fly — other than his penchant for fishing. As he once told his granddaughter-in-law, after catching a limit of blue-gills: “Don’t feel sorry for fish.”
The day the Good Lord made Richard, there must have been a surplus of humor, kindness, empathy, wit, energy, work ethic, humility, honesty, reliability, entrepreneurship, and loyalty — and it all went into him. When he was admitted to the hospital, two days before passing, the outlook was dire. He was given minutes to live; his last rites were given; but he fought through to spend two final days with friends and family who travelled from near and far to be with him. To the end, he marched to no one’s drumbeat but his own.
Richard is preceded by his two sisters, Dorothy and Gloria. He is survived by his wife Lorraine, his children Rick, Ron, Kathy, and Bob, his 12 grandchildren, Ali, Taylor, Cameron, Alex, Angela, Ricky, Nicki, Lexi, Matt, Mike, Carrie, and Kelly, and his 8 great-grandchildren, Grace, Lucy, Leo, Scarlett, Sam, Vivian, Tom and Mae.
A viewing will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 10th, at Adams Funeral Home in Paw Paw, MI. Mass of Christian burial will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Paw Paw on Friday, November 11th, at 12:40 P.M., with Rev. Fr. Alan P. Jorgensen officiating. In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made in Richard’s memory to ARF (a charity that pairs rescued animals with military veterans) at give.arflife.org.
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