Fallen Hero SGT Kurt Kruize, United States Army Reserve

SGT Kurt E. Kruize

June 11, 1974 - April 4, 2010
United States Army Reserve

Kurt E. Kruize was somewhat shy, reserved and quiet as a child. While growing up his favorite pastimes were fishing, hunting, and playing both basketball and football. Kurt spent many hours boating, fishing and enjoying the outdoors around a nearby lake. He and his 16 classmates in the small town of Hancock, Minnesota who graduated together in 1993 were very close to one another. After graduating Kurt studied automotive mechanics at the technical college in Detroit Lakes, and worked as a mechanic for several years. More recently he had been employed at Viking Coca Cola Bottling Co. in St. Cloud as a forklift operator, a job that he enjoyed.

Kurt joined the military while still in high school at the age of 17 doing basic training at Fort Lee, Virginia and AIT at Fort Jackson, SC. After AIT he moved to St. Cloud, MN where he met the love of his life Billie Jo, whom he married, and together they have four children. Their ages at the time of Kurt’s death were 13, 10, 5 and 2 years old. Family members state, “How he loved those kids!” He was the type of father that would take his girls shopping and when they tried on dresses he would tell them how beautiful they looked. He was full of life, loved playing games with his family, and at times was a practical, jokester. He also was the Chevy Chase of Minnesota…….loving lots of lights at Christmas time! Other huge passions were country music, and cooking family dinners. His dream was to go back to school and become a chef after he completed his time in Iraq.

Kurt served his first tour in Iraq in 2003 where he was a fuel tank carrier. His second tour started in January 2010. In April of that year tragically Kurt died of injuries sustained when he was pinned between a truck and a trailer. The loss for this family has been heavy indeed.

This is what Billie Jo wrote to me on her request form: “He is a good person and he loves to help people when they need it. He would give the shirt off his back to help anybody out. He is an awesome and lovable husband and father! He is my best friend, the love of my life and always will be. He would do anything for our kids! Love and miss him so much!”

Portrait sponsored by:
Lance Cpl. Curtis M. Swenson Memorial Fund, Rochester, MN