Donald L. Kraut, age 98, died on Friday, December 6, 2013 at Clark County Health Care Center in Owen. He was a life-long resident of Curtiss until his move to The Angelus in Marshfield in September 2003. In January, 2008, he became a resident of the Clark County Health Care Center in Owen.
Don was born October 21, 1915, to Frank and Ida (Kind) Kraut. He attended Curtiss State Graded School and graduated from Owen High School in 1935. In February, 1936, Don graduated from the Goodman College of Embalming in Milwaukee which was followed by a one-year apprenticeship in Thorp. He then opened his own funeral home in Dorchester.
In 1942, Don was drafted into the Army and was a member of the 3rd Battalion of the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment, 1st Special Brigade. His unit received strenuous amphibian training in beach landings and traveled from Staten Island to Ireland, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Northern France, Germany and England. Corporal Kraut and the men of the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment were the only ones to participate in seven campaigns and landed at Utah Beach before the war ended in 1945. He was a member of the Battle of Normandy Foundation and has his name inscribed on the Wall of Liberty. Don was also a Charter Member of Eisenhower's Order of the Day for D-Day date June 5, 1944. During his lifetime, he looked forward to attending the annual 531st Engineer Shore Regiment reunions which were held throughout the United States.
Following the war, Donald operated funeral homes in Dorchester, Owen and Abbotsford. He retired as a funeral director in 1980, and in May, 1988, he received a Certificate of Recognition for 50 years of service as a member of the funeral service profession in Wisconsin.
Don was a member of the Federal, State, and Local Funeral Directors' Associations, former Vice-President and Director of the Curtiss Bank, member of the Curtiss Lions Club, and Charter Member of the Curtiss Community Club. He was also a member of the Owen American Legion Post #123 and the Abbotsford VFW Post #865.
Don served as Curtiss Village President for 17 years, during which time the village celebrated its centennial in 1982. He was a Life Member of the Clark County Historical Society and served as a Director. Don was also a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Curtiss and served on the Church Council.
Don never married. Preceding him in death were his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, Franklin and Elsie Kraut, his sister and brother-in-law, Marie and James Cattanach, a brother-in-law, Gorton Vorland, and a niece, Pamela Bentley.
His survivors include two sisters: Pearl Vorland of Colby and Ethel Zulke of Hillsboro. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, and their families, and other close relatives and friends.
A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Curtiss. The Rev. Kris Bjerke-Ulliman and Rev. Kenneth A. Dix will officiate. Interment with Military Honors provided by the Owen-Withee American Legion Post #123 and Colby VFW Post #2227 will be at the Pine Hill Cemetery in the town of Mayville. Family and friends are welcome from 3:00 until 6:00 PM Tuesday, December 10 at Maurina-Schilling Funeral Home in Owen and one hour prior to service time at the church on Wednesday.
In lieu of flowers, a Memorial Fund has been established in Donald's name.
Donald's family would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff at Clark County Health Care Center for their compassion and excellent care these past five years.