Home 9 Obituaries 9 William George Kruse

William George Kruse

July 13, 1926 - March 26, 2020

  • Funeral

Father William “Bill” George Kruse passed away peacefully at University of Chicago Hospital on March 26, at the age of 93, in the presence of his wife of thirty-seven years, Becky. He is survived by his four children – Mary Joan, Sara (Matthew) Mahoney, Adam (Lynda), Ellen (Dr. James McCrackan); three step-children – Kristina (Michael) Murphy, Dr. Stephanie (Rodney) Waldhoff, Peter (Loretta) Morris; and thirteen grandchildren.

Bill came from a line of German-Danish farmers and bakers. Born in Swedish Covenant Hospital to Theodore and Margaret “Birdie” Kruse on July 13, 1926, he lived most of his life in the Chicago area. When Bill was a teenager he prayed to have an adventurous life. His prayer was answered, and his journey was a wonderful adventure.

College at the University of Illinois was interrupted by WWII. He registered when he turned eighteen in 1944, and was called into service in January, 1945. The war was winding down by then, and Bill spent his Army Air Corp time in Puerto Rico, working on aircraft and editing a base newspaper.  A highlight of his time there was the chance to meet Eleanor Roosevelt.

Following a successful career at Kraft Foods, Bill devoted himself to Young Christian Workers, where he discovered his passions for teaching, organizing and outreach. YCW changed how he looked at life, politics and community. It was at YCW that he met Aileen Armstrong, who became his wife in 1960. Together they worked to turn out the Democratic vote in the 1960 election, when John F. Kennedy was elected president.

In 1962 Bill was asked to join the newly formed Peace Corp staff as one of their front men.  So he and Aileen packed up their babies Mary Joan and Sara and headed for Ethiopia, and after that Nigeria, where he worked preparing the way for the volunteers. He loved his time in those countries, and often spoke fondly of the experiences they had.

While in Nigeria Bill discovered the Episcopal Church. He was drawn to the enthusiastic worship and lively music. When they returned to the U.S. they moved to Milwaukee. He served as the executive director of United Migrant Workers, where he fought to find migrant agricultural workers better jobs and pay. From there he founded Midwest Success Training Associates (MSTA) in Milwaukee and Chicago. The goal of MSTA was to help underserved youths to complete high school and train for and be placed in meaningful work.

During these years his connection with the Episcopal Church deepened, and he began to feel called to the priesthood.  His call was confirmed when he was accepted into Seabury Western Seminary, and another adventure began.

Tragically, Aileen was not to complete that journey with him. With her death in January of 1974, he was left to complete seminary alone. The close bonds he developed with his children during these years continued all the rest of his life.  He completed seminary and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James Montgomery on December 13, 1975.

He served first at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Glencoe, and then was called to be vicar at St. Bede’s in Bensenville.  With his guidance this small but energetic congregation sponsored two refugee families from southeast Asia, held healing missions, and achieved full parish status. He also chaired the Diocesan Hunger Taskforce.

It was while he was at St. Bede’s that he met Becky Kondiles Morris, whom he married on June 26, 1982. Becky brought her three children into the family, and for ten years they lived in the rectory as he ministered to the congregation and the community, and Becky pursued her career as a nurse.

Bill retired in January of 1992, and he and Becky moved to Geneva, Illinois. He continued to work part time as an interim priest in various parishes, assisted with Sunday services in LaSalle County, and, lastly, served as the assistant priest at St. Mark’s in Geneva for several years.  He also volunteered at Asbury Gardens Senior Living until he was 90, where he conducted Eucharist for the residents.

Over the years thirteen grandchildren joined the family, greatly enriching his life.

Bill’s last years were devoted to friends and family and continued spiritual study. Bill lived the adventure he prayed for, and left us with these words to remember: “I have personally been at my best when fully conscious that whatever I’m doing is in harmony with God’s truth and when I can see that each person is full of God, even when their beliefs are different than mine.”

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held when it is possible to gather again.


Anthony P Pacheco from Chicago, IL

"The only thing we wish for when we come to the clearing at the end of the path, is that our friends and families are there waiting for us- that when we call out to them, they answer back. I believe William found that peace and love."

Indra from Northbrook, IL

"Lynda,Please accept my condolences during this difficult time for your family!"

Sharlene Borke from Canton, MI

"Dear Becky, So sorry about Bill. I have been thinking of you a lot. That is how our God works. Please contact me. Same place. 734-459-5515. Miss you. Sharlene Borke"

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *