Woodland Hills Funeral Home 507-387-5504
Thomas J. Krueger (72) of rural Eagle Lake died Monday February 28, 2022 at his home surrounded by his wife and children. He had been battling esophageal cancer since 2017, when he and his wife were both diagnosed with stage IV cancer within weeks of each other. For the record, Tom had been kicking cancer’s ass up until about a month ago. Like everything else in life, Tom decided dying was going to be on his own terms. After his diagnosis, with the help of his whole family, he continued to run his dairy farm with a renewed vigor.
Tom was born in Mankato on January 20, 1950 to Gladys and Walter Krueger. He grew up on their farm in LeRay Township, which has been in the Krueger family for five generations. In 1968, he graduated from Janesville High School. Tom was proud to serve our country in the Army National Guard as a medic. When his father’s health was failing, Tom selflessly chose to take over the family’s herd of dairy cows and officially became a dairy farmer.
Tom eventually met a beautiful woman with a kind heart, named Linda Somers. Linda admired farmers and wasn’t intimidated by hard work; he knew immediately he’d be a fool not to put a ring on it. They were united in marriage on June 8, 1974.
The next forty-eight years were filled with marital bliss (of course), raising four children into wonderful human beings, and milking cows. Lots of milking cows.
Tom was quite the anomaly. On the outside, the tall, brawny man with a big black beard could be intimidating to some. On the inside, he had a wry sense of humor and the tenderness to teach his daughters how to braid hair on a cow’s tail. Tom was a man with an economy of words, yet he would floor everyone in the room with a witty quip that no one was expecting. The crooked little smirk on his face was the only indicator you’d have that he was kidding.
Although Tom’s education only extended to high school, he had an abundance of experience and wisdom to share. And he enjoyed sharing his insights. While he milked cows with his daughters, this was often their special time to bond with him. He also enjoyed sharing his knowledge of agriculture and love of tractors with his sons, who have both carried on the farming tradition themselves.
Tom rarely expressed his emotions or feelings. He showed his love to others through his actions, and you could see it in his eyes (even when he was rolling them at you.)
Tom’s bearing was usually quiet and dignified, yet his booming voice could immediately snap his children into good behavior. As he transitioned from “Daddy” to “Pop-Pop,” and his beard transformed from black to white, his expectations seemed to soften, along with his heart. Much to his family’s surprise, he also took up making wine and baking decadent breads in his older age. It was even more stunning that he was excellent at it. Another favorite past-time he had was delegating tasks onto his son-in-law Dusty’s (already full) farm chore list with a dry, “So…you need a job?”
Tom is survived by his wife, Linda of rural Eagle Lake; by two sons, Justin Krueger (and Mary Brunz) and Luke (and Rhonda) Krueger of rural Eagle Lake; by two daughters Tracy (and Dusty) Loberg of Janesville, and Fawn Krueger of Shoreview, MN. Tom was also survived by five precious grandchildren who brought an abundance of joy to his life; Avery and Clint Krueger, August and Nash Loberg, and Klaus Krueger-McMullen. He was survived by two brothers, William Krueger of St. Joseph, MO, Roger (and Donna) Krueger of rural Eagle Lake; by two sisters, Joyce (and Harlan) Renken of Racine, MN, and Susan Krueger of Cleveland, GA; by brother and sister in laws, and nine nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Gladys Krueger; by parents-in-law, Clinton and Lillian Somers; by sister-in-law Janice (William) Krueger; by many wonderful cattle dogs, especially his beloved Flash, Flash II, Beauregard, Hans Von Schnapps, and Buck.
In lieu of flowers or memorials, you need a job? There are still cows to milk, calves to feed, and hay to bale this summer. Tom will be buried at the Smith’s Mill Cemetery. A private memorial will be held when the alfalfa blooms this spring. A special thank you to Mayo Hospice for their help and caring spirit.
Woodland Hills Funeral Home of Mankato is handling arrangements. woodlandhillsfh.com
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