Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association (KARA) is saddened to learn of the recent passing of longtime devoted member Steve Kruse. Kruse was a decorated member of the agribusiness industry, serving as KARA’s chairman in 1995, winning the Water Guardian Award in 2001 and earning the Distinguished Service Award in 2007.
The Kansas Fertilizer and Chemical Association awarded Kruse’s Kruse Fertilizer Service Inc., of Little River, Kansas as the 2001 Water Guardian Award winner. The award was presented to a business that projects a positive image by promoting environmental stewardship of the industry, concern about the quality of water and the protection of the environment.
In 2007, Kruse earned KARA’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition for his outstanding service to the agribusiness industry and his nearly decade of guidance as a KARA board member from 1990-99.
Read Kruse’s full obituary below:
Steven J. Kruse, 70, passed away on January 30, 2018 in Little River, Kansas. Steve was born May 13, 1947 in Little River. He played football for McPherson College and graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics.
After college, Steve returned home to Little River to work with his father, Vernon, on the family farm. Steve and his wife Debi own and operate Kruse Companies — including Kruse Farms, Kruse Fertilizer Service and Kruse Appraisal Service. Steve served publicly for many years, including Board leadership positions for organizations such as the Kansas Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, Sandstone Heights nursing home, and Mutual Telephone Company.
He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who loved his family deeply. Steve was a respected businessman and community leader who would do anything for family, friends and neighbors. He was a true believer in putting others before himself. Steve loved traveling across the world with his family. Steve and Debi were often spotted riding their tandem mountain bike dozens of miles across town, and enjoying dinner at their favorite restaurants. The couple were inseparable — spending as much time as possible, together.
Steve had a passion for the arts and attended Music Theatre of Wichita and Broadway musical performances regularly. As a father, he was an amazing role model in business and in his personal life. All who knew Steve will remember his love of Kansas State University. He enjoyed attending K-State football and basketball games. A lifelong Wildcat fan, many would hear his phone message, “Hello K-State Fans… this is the Kruses.” Steve was a wonderful grandfather who enjoyed taking his grandsons for a ride in the tractor, four wheeler or the new combine. Steve and Debi attended many of their grandsons’ activities — whether a football or basketball game, or a violin recital.
Steve was proceeded in death by his mother and father, Miriam and Vernon Kruse. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Debi; son Ben Kruse and husband, John Trombello; daughter Sara Kruse Garrison and husband, Phil Garrison — along with his grandsons Cooper and Breck.
A private family burial will take place atop Vail Mountain in Colorado. Steve was an amazing man who impacted the lives of so many. He never met a stranger, and was the rock of his family. He is gone too soon, but as Steve would always say, “Life is Good. Enjoy the Ride.”
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that you consider a memorial for Steven Kruse that has been established at the Kansas State University Foundation. Contributions may be sent to: KSU Foundation, 1800 Kimball Ave., Ste 200, Manhattan, KS 66502, please indicate fund M47183. To make a gift online, go to www.ksufoundation.org/give/StevenKruse.