(Cazenovia – Aug. 3, 2014) Donald Woodward Krueger, 85, of Cazenovia, died Aug. 3, 2014, at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center Hospital in Syracuse after a series of prolonged health problems.
Krueger was born Nov. 14, 1928, in Morningside Hospital, Tulsa, Okla., to Clarence Frederick and Mary Margaret (Woodward) Krueger. As a boy, he lived in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Carthage, Ohio; and College Hill (Cincinnati), Ohio.
According to Krueger, his father was a traveling salesman and his mother was an anomaly of the times, having been educated at a land grant college and earning a degree in home economics. The job required her to travel for the state Extension service. His parents met in a hotel in Missouri while both traveled on business.
Once in Ohio, Krueger was registered at the Ohio Military Institute, a boarding school, so his mother could travel with his father and infant sister, living off Clarence’s expense account.
During an interview earlier this summer, Krueger said that during the Great Depression in 1932 through 1934, the country faced 25 percent unemployment. He said his parents never owned a home, and he never had a room of his own, just a cot in the hallway until the last two years of high school.
From age 11 through 12, Krueger delivered handbills and gained a reputation for being reliable and managed to secure a number of odd jobs throughout his primary and secondary education years. He delivered magazines, stocked shelves, lettered show cards for window displays, swept floors and worked in a print shop. At 14, he went to work for J.C. Penney’s measuring inseams on men’s pants because all the clerks were women.
He marveled at the number of opportunities he had for career-track employment on his journey into higher education.
After military school, Krueger lived in Somerset and Winchester, Ken., where he graduated high school at age 16. During that last year, a teacher took personal interest in Krueger, putting him on the path to post-secondary education. He attended the University of Kansas City, Kansas City Art Institute and Rhode Island School of Design, earning a bachelor of fine arts and a master of fine arts in painting in Kansas and a master of science in professional art education at RISD.
He met Virginia Mallett at the Kansas City Art Institute; they married and had one daughter, Kristina Krueger.
After art school, Krueger put his art skills to work in service to the Army, working from 1946 through 1948 with an engineering unit during the occupation of Japan.
Krueger taught and was promoted to administrative positions during his career path through Southwestern College, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Georgia, Washington University School of Fine Arts, Southeastern Massachusetts University, Pine Manor College and Clark University from 1955 through 2001.
He met his second wife, Barbara Brent, while in school and worked two jobs – for AAA and as a traffic engineer – while he waited a year for Barbara to graduate, also.
The pair married in New Orleans, La., in 1952, and boarded a boat for Ecuador the following day to study the culture and teach English. Their travels led them through Peru and Cuba before returning them to Miami, Fla., in 1953. Krueger worked as a self-employed painter, sculptor and designer before landing his first professional teaching position in 1955 at Southwestern College. He spent the remainder of his life teaching – 46 years in the university setting, then through his local column, “The Cazenovia Curmudgeon,” where he shone a spotlight on a number of contentious issues for nearly 13 years.
Krueger is survived by his ex-wife and very close friend, Barbara Surprenant; a sister, Suse Hope; two daughters, Kristina Nakagawa of Winston Salem, N.C., and Alix Krueger (and Rob Spoon) of Amboy, Oswego County; two grandsons, Russell Hobbs and Stephen Nakagawa; a granddaughter, Chelsea Warren; and three great-grandchildren, Russell, Sean and Luke Hobbs.
Donald continues to educate in death, having donated his body to SUNY Upstate Medical University and funding endowment scholarships to Berea College and Alice Lloyd College.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to a local animal shelter/rescue, Humane Association or to give a shelter pet a loving home.