Joseph "Joe" Kraft, 94, Minot, formerly of Granville, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Trinity Hospital in Minot.
Joe was born Nov. 21, 1919, in Barton to Peter and Lena (Dexheimer) Kraft and attended school in Granville. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1946.
Joe was proud of his lifetime membership in the American Legion and lifelong membership in the Knights of Columbus, joining both in 1946. He was a member of the KC Fourth Degree and the Columbian Club.
In the spring of 1948, Joe and Mary Flammang had their first dance at the Easter Monday dance in Karlsruhe. Mary and Joe married on June 28, 1948, at St. Leo's Catholic Church, Minot. Together 15 children were born. Mary passed away Sept. 5, 2012.
While extremely busy raising children and operating the family farm, Joe was very involved in his community. Joe was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Granville until it closed and then became a member of St. Leo's Catholic Church, Minot. He was a member of the McHenry County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Board, Granville School Board, Norwich Farmers Elevator and Granville Community Club.
Joe farmed most of his life. He was a great storyteller and liked to tell of his father being the first farmer in the area to purchase a tractor with rubber tires back in 1935. Joe's son, Bill, continues to operate the family farm. After retiring from farming, Joe drove bus and handled custodial duties for Granville Public School.
While listening to his waltz and polka music, Joe took drives to the country to conduct "crop tours" of his sons' and grandsons' crops. His sharp memory provided abundant knowledge to the boys. His pride and joy was his 1985 Oldsmobile displaying license plate 2444. Joe retained the 2444 plate for 44 years. His memory of numbers and dates was amazing.
Joe's lifeline was his cell phone. His left shirt pocket safely held his phone within a quick reach. Being able to visit with family and friends was an important part of every day.
In July 2013, Joe moved to Trinity Homes where Room 429 became his new home. He was known as "Mr. Joe" and the staff often called him spoiled because of all the attention he received. Joe didn't hesitate to acknowledge that his family was always there for him. Joe loved his visitors and always had a sweet treat ready and a Sprite Zero. To the end, Joe's favorite TV shows were Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. You could usually find him watching the Minnesota Twins or Timberwolves too. Joe's passing leaves a void but many memorable moments to remember.
His family includes: Children, Ken (Gloria) Kraft, Steve Kraft, Mary Beth Kraft, Tim Kraft, Judith (Tim) Bingen, Bob Kraft, Bernadette Kraft, Teresa (Darrel) Loftesnes, Pat Kraft, Mike Kraft, Bill Kraft, Kathleen (Ray) Lilliquist, Linda (Joe) Hudson and son-in-law Fred Hansen. He is also survived by 29 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; sisters, Lenora Klein, Mary Bloms and Emily Dufner.
He was preceded in death by: his parents, Peter and Lena Kraft; his wife, Mary; brothers, John and Pete; sister, Ann Carleno; an infant daughter, Mary Jo, and a daughter, Virginia Hansen; infant granddaughter, Nicole Hansen; and infant great-granddaughter, Isabella Newman.
Mass of Christian Burial: Thursday, March 6, at 11 a.m. at St. Leo's Catholic Church, Minot.
Interment: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Vigil prayer service: Wednesday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m., at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.
Visitation: Wednesday, March 5, from 3 to 7:30 p.m., at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).