Obituary: William A. “Bill” Kreft
William A. “Bill” Kreft, 82 of Rhinelander, passed away July 5, 2012, at Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital. He was born on May 19, 1930, in Tomahawk, to William C. and Minnie (Biard) Kreft.
Bill attended Tomahawk Rural Elementary Schools and graduated from Tripoli High School in 1948. He joined the U.S. Army in 1950 and served his country in Korea and Japan from 1951 to 1953. He married Virginia Phillips, daughter of Ray and Gerry Phillips of Rhinelander, on Dec. 5, 1953. His wife and family were his first love. Though he was a man of few words, his greatest pride was his family.
The Krefts lived in Tomahawk for many years, moving back to Rhinelander in 1975, when they built a home on Velvet Lake Road. Because of poor health, they sold in 2004, and have been residing in Davenport Street Estates. Bill was a longtime employee of Wausau/Rhinelander Paper Company, retiring in 1993 after 39 years of service.
His second love was the Northern Wisconsin outdoors. As a side line, he was a skilled woodsman for many years, cutting “pulpwood” to sell to local paper mills. For years, he was an avid fisherman, hunter and trapper, skinning, stretching, and drying the furs himself. All skills learned from his father, most of which he has passed on to his grandson. A loyal Packers and Brewers fan, he seldom missed a game on TV, often muting the TV sound and listening to the “play by play” announcer on the radio “because they do it right.” In a reversal of the Will Rogers quote: “You’ve never met a man who didn’t like Bill Kreft!”
Bill is survived by his wife, Virginia; two daughters, Billie Jo Kreft and Chrystina (Jeff) Melau; and a grandson, Alexander Towne all of Rhinelander. He is further survived by a special niece, Kendra (Daryl) Kochel of Boise, Idaho; foster daughter, Linda (Darell) Swedhin; and their children, Kara, Sara, and Christopher and grandchildren of Longmont, Colo.; a sister, Doris Golden of Kaukauna; and nieces and nephews. He was preceded by his parents and a sister, Marjorie Kangas.
A memorial gathering in honor of Bill will be held on Wednesday, July 11, at 4 p.m., at the Carlson Funeral Home.