Craig Laurence Kruse, 50, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on September 9, 2022. The son of Ron and Roxanna Kruse, he was born in Belleville, Illinois on August 31, 1972. He was raised in Hersher, Illinois where he discovered his passion for athletics. This included him helping secure a runner up state championship title in football during the 1988-1989 season at Herscher High School and going to State in the shot put his senior year.
He continued his athletic career at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. There, he was a four-year starter on the football team and placed fifth at Outdoor Nationals in the shot put his senior year. Though none of this compared to his true victory, meeting the love of his life, Kristen, during his freshman year. The two celebrated 26 years of marriage in June, and built a wonderful family that Craig was extremely proud of.
Craig also excelled in academics, graduating as an Academic All American from Augustana, and then obtaining a Masters in Kinesiology from Eastern Illinois University before gaining his Masters’ in Physical Therapy with highest honors from Emory University. He was a passionate physical therapist for 24 years. Through his work he positively impacted so many lives by helping others heal and making the recovery process fun along the way.
However, Craig’s true passion was coaching. He spent much of his children’s’ youth coaching them, and was a huge part of the Hinsdale Falcon’s football and wrestling feeder programs. Craig had such an impact on youth sports that the field at Brook Park was recently renamed Craig Kruse Field. This is an honor that is both humbling and also well deserved. Craig pulled the best out of his players, and the coaches around him, because he truly believed in people and in their potential.
As his children grew, he became the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Hinsdale Central where he helped athletes from all teams each and every day. Craig eventually began coaching both football and women’s throwing at the high school, and thoroughly enjoyed being such an integral part of so many athletes’ lives. He will be remembered for his care, compassion and work ethic by the Red Devil community.
His life ended far too soon due to stage four glioblastoma brain cancer. Craig lived for fourteen months after his diagnosis and lived well. He continued to work, coach and travel for most of the last year of his life. He will be remembered by the phrase he coined “Boots On”, because he did not want to “die before he died”. He decided to continue to live every day and die with his boots on.
He is survived by his loving wife Kristen, his children Cassie, Ron and Zach, his parents Ron and Roxanna, his sister Carrie, his nieces Claire, Addie and his nephew Ian. He has left for them an incredible legacy that they will carry on for him, because he taught them how.
Craig is preceded in death by his paternal grandparents; Laverne and Alice Kruse, his maternal grandparents Earl and Yvonne Thompson, and his brother Gregory Paul Kruse, who he now finally has the chance to meet after a lifetime apart.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday September 14, 2022, from 2-9pm at Adolf Funeral Home, 7000 S Madison St. Willowbrook, IL 60527. Family and friends will meet on Thursday, September 15, 2022 for a 10:30am Funeral Service at Gloria Dei Church, 4501 Main St, Downers Grove, IL 60515. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Craig Kruse Memorial Fund.