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Frederick “Phred” Van Kruse

Fred V. Kruse, 81 of Havana, passed away July 21, 2018. He was born in 1936 in Havana, the son of Theodore “Ted” J. Kruse and Velma (VanEtten) Kruse. In 1959 he married Kay Asay and brought into the world two children from that marriage: Amy K Kruse of Belleville and Kerstin A Kruse Liberty of Dallas, GA. In 1990, he then married Verna Mae Vogt Landis, who brought two step-children to their union: August (Claudia) Landis of NV and Vicki (Larry) Landis Davis of AZ. Verna remained devoted to him through his death. Fred is also survived by four grandchildren: Bailey R K Kruse (Belleville) and Solomon T Liberty (Dallas GA), Samuel M Liberty (Dallas GA), Meadowlark “Memi” V. Liberty (Dallas GA). He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant brother, John David Kruse. Fred was an active member of Havana Rotary for many years. A quiet patriot, Fred served in the Air National Guard and was activated during the Berlin crisis. He loved flying and received his private pilot’s license in 1965, taking his children on many aerial adventures as they grew up. A lover of ice cream, puppy dogs and snowball fights, Fred was a critical thinker with an impish sense of humor, which he passed on in spades to both of his children. He believed in the power of education and attended Western University in Macomb, then later pursued and received his B.S. from University of Iowa while courting Verna. Growing up on a farm, Fred understood farmers and many of the issues they face. After college, he continued farming in partnership with his father for a few years before setting out on an agriculture oriented career centered around serving the farming industry. In 1960, Fred formed Kruse Fertilizer Company. As extended droughts wrought havoc on farms in Mason County, in 1966 he formed Ag-Rain Irrigation Company to create solutions to those droughts. Fred and his partner Deane Behrends then merged the two companies under the one name of KIFCO in 1985. Through the years the company constantly up-dated their services and continued to introduce new machines and services for the irrigation and farming community. That company still employs locally and supports our community today. Fred’s achievements weren’t only recognized here at home. In 1998 at the annual Irrigation Expo and Conference in San Diego, CA, the National Irrigation Association awarded Fred the prestigious “Irrigation Industry Achievement” award for his outstanding contribution to the irrigation industry as a whole. He was a careful thinker, a planner, a quiet and steady soul, a loving and oh, so patient father and grandfather, and a solid pillar of the community. So few words; to encompass our many moments on this earth. He was a good human, and he leaves us with an influence that will not be forgotten by those whose lives he touched. Visitation will be held on Friday July 27 from 3 to 5 p.m., with a brief memorial at 5pm at Hurley Funeral Home in Havana. Online condolences can be made to the family at Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (, or to FARA at: Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, 533 W. Uwchlan Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335. (

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