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“I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE”
Carl Henry Kraetsch Jr - Age 91, Son of Carl H. and Elizabeth E. Kraetsch, finished his course on Feb 7 2023, and entered the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Carl was a man known to be able to fix nearly anything; he rarely ever crossed paths with any thing, that was damaged or broken, that he could not repair – given enough time, focus, and the right tools. But the scourge of Alzheimer’s which attacked his body and mind, was a “thing” he could not fix, and after a nine year struggle with this manifestation of dementia; he laid down his “screwdrivers and glue” and allowed Jesus to lead him home.
It was the classic western hymn, “Lead Me Gently Home Father,” that we were playing for him when he breathed his last.
Carl was born October 28, 1931 in Des Moines, Iowa, and was graduated from Des Moines Technical High School in January of 1950 – where he was a letterman on the “Engineers” golf team. He worked repairing radios (and the new gizmos called TV’s) during his high school years, and during the following year while attending Drake University.
Then the call came to join in the service of our country, and Carl enlisted in the United States Air Force in July of 1951. While serving in the Air Force he achieved the rank of Airman First Class, and was awarded the ‘National Defense Service’ and ‘Good Conduct’ medals. His “A.F. Specialty” was radar installation and maintenance, among other electronics and communication related domains.
Carl made the most important decision of his life while serving in the Air Force, and that was to trust Jesus Christ for salvation, and commit his heart, soul, mind, and strength to the One who had died for him on Calvary’s cross, and who, by His resurrection from the grave, gave him the blessed hope of eternal life – which he has now just begun to enjoy. A second highlight of his time in the U.S.A.F. was being stationed in London in 1954 when Billy Graham conducted his three month long “London Crusade” there. (He has some great photos which he took of Billy, George Beverly Shea, and others of the Graham team as proof “he was there”)
Carl’s Air Force Active Duty commitment ended in July of 1955. His parents had moved from Des Moines to Tower, Minnesota while he was in the service, so he joined them there upon his discharge. He worked in Tower for several years doing Radio and TV repair, and installing TV aerials on rooftops in the snowy and often sub-zero climate that was/is northeast Minnesota.
To further his growth as a follower of Christ, he decided he needed formal Bible training and enrolled in the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago in 1959. At Moody he joined the campus “Radio Club” (where else?) using his Air Force training to benefit the communication needs of gospel missionaries out “in the field.”
After 1 year at Moody Carl came to Cedar Rapids, Iowa – where his parents had now moved, and where others of his extended family were living and working. He joined his half-brother Fred Bellamy at Concrete Materials Co. and began searching for a new church home. His church search culminated at the Edgewood Baptist Church where the pastor’s wife (Velma Miller) was instrumental in Carl’s second most important life decision.
Mrs. Miller introduced Carl to Betty Pratt who just under a year later said “Yes” to his proposal for marriage.
They were wed on December 29, 1961 by Rev Fred T. Miller,(Pastor of Edgewood) and Carl displayed another of his “hidden” talents by singing to his bride as part of the wedding ceremony. Carl and Betty honored God and each other by faithfully keeping those vows for 61 years – until God called Carl home.
God blessed their marriage with two children: Curtis (1962) and Cathy (1964)
Carl’s next ”career” adventure, was to join P.K. Myhre in his para-mission work - “Mission Engineering,” - building radio transmitters for the Far East Broadcasting Company (a Christian Missionary Radio organization founded in 1945) This adventure lasted until health reasons required P.K. to retire in 1969.
After a year or two of driving a school bus – simply to put food on the table- God allowed Carl’s Air-Force training to once again provide him with work and purpose. He was hired as a test technician by the Collins Radio Company (pre-Rockwell days) where he remained for ten years until his first retirement in 1982.
An entrepreneurial spirit took over and Carl tried his hand at opening his own “deli” (‘Alpha Omega’) in 1983. This endeavor wasn’t as successful as he’d hoped and was shuttered in 1989.
He next went back to his primary skill-set in electronics and worked at the Mercy Medical Center for three years, helping them to complete a project of re-wiring and replacing the television sets in every patient room in the hospital complex.
During all of these years he faithfully served God at Edgewood Baptist in multiple capacities as: Song Leader/Soloist, Adult Sunday School Teacher, Deacon etc, etc… and also as a member of the school board for the Cedar Rapids Christian School (which was housed in one of the Edgewood Church buildings)
Carl was always looking for opportunities to share the gospel message of Salvation whenever, wherever, and with whomever he crossed paths.
Not quite being ready to fully retire he went “back-to-school” correspondence style and became a LockSmith at the ripe young age of 64. “Carl’s Locksmith Service” (with much assistance from Mrs Kraetsch) operated for about 18 years, until the effects of the Alzheimer’s disease required him to “turn in his keys.”
After 47 years together in Cedar Rapids, Carl and Betty made the move to Eldora, IA in 2008.
In 2019 Carl was moved to the Iowa Veteran’s Home in Marshalltown where the care needed for his dementia could be provided.
Carl was preceded in death by his parents, His half brothers Fred (Irene) and Howard Bellamy, and half sister Dorothy (K.K.) Kinsey
He is survived by his wife Betty, Son Curtis (Shirley) Kraetsch, His Daughter Cathy (Roger) Sutton, 2 Grandsons, Andrew Sutton, and Nathan (Taylor) Sutton, and several Nieces, Nephews, and Great Nieces and Nephews.
A Memorial and Celebration of Life service is being planned for 10:30 AM, Saturday February 25, 2023 at Steamboat Rock Baptist Church – Steamboat Rock, IA. Visitation also at SRBC from 5 – 7 PM Friday the 24th.
Friday, February 24, 2023
5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
Saturday, February 25, 2023
10:30 - 11:30am (Central time)
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