On 2 January 2023, William (Bill) Paul Krueger, loving husband and father passed away at his home in Merrill. Bill was born on 24 August 1941, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to Lawrence and Elda (Golz) Krueger. Growing up in Oshkosh, he participated in Boy Scouts, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. In 1962, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. Upon graduation, Bill enlisted in the United State Air Force and was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon completion of Officer Candidate School in 1964.
During his time on active duty, Bill held assignments in Montgomery, Alabama, where he witnessed the march from Selma to Montgomery. He transferred to Detroit before going to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii to serve as the base protocol officer from 1967-1970. As protocol officer Bill oversaw the logistics of six presidential visits, accompanied Madame Chiang Kai-shek during her visit, and arranged for the repair of Queen Elizabeth II airplane. In 1969, he was part of the team that handled the quarantine of the Apollo 11 astronauts upon their return from the moon. From 1970-1992, he served in the Air Force reserve, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps. He received a number of decorations and commendations over his career including the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak clusters.
In 1973, Bill earned a Juris Doctorate from Marquette University. Much of his legal career was spent in civilian service for the Air Force Materials Command based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Part of his duties at Wright Patterson included serving as legal counsel for the United States Air Force Museum, where he helped expand the size of the museum and acquire numerous historical airplanes including those used by presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and the plane that carried President Kennedy’s body from Dallas in 1963. One of his last acquisitions was the return and restoration of the legendary WWII bomber the Memphis Belle.
On 3 June 1972, Bill married Marlene (Dahm) Krueger. Together they raised three children: a son, Lucas and two daughters, Marla (Bosta) and Kristi. Bill celebrated and encouraged his childrens’ passions. Among his greatest joys, however, was hearing Marlene play the organ for church or the piano at home. Throughout his life, Bill was an avid runner. He trained for and completed three marathons after turning fifty. Bill was a voracious reader too.
Bill was a devout Christian who was happy to serve in church leadership, as an usher, reader, choir member and so on. An active member of the communities in which he lived, Bill coached his children in youth sports, volunteered as an assistant scoutmaster, served on the board of the Fisher Nightingale House, and in Merrill, he served on the board of the Merrill Historical Museum.
Bill was preceded in death by his father Lawrence and mother Elda. He is survived by his wife of fifty years, Marlene; his three children: Lucas (Christina), Marla (Bryan) Bosta, and Kristi; and four grandchildren: Josephina, Claire, Gabriella, and Emmaline.
A celebration of life service will be held on 19 February 2023 at 12pm at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Merrill, Wisconsin. Pastor Kathy Tulman will officiate. Visitation will be held on 19 February 2023 from 11am until the time of the service, also at the church. Later this summer, he will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be sent to the Merrill Historical Museum (https://www.merrillhistory.org) or the Fisher Nightingale House (https://www.fnhi.org).
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.