Thomas John (TJ) Kraft
Nov. 27-1983-May 27, 2023
TJ Kraft, 39, Berthold, died Saturday, May 27, 2023, in a Minot hospital.
Thomas John Kraft (TJ) was born November 27, 1983, to Thomas Kraft and Barbra (Kalenze) Kraft in Minot. His dad’s first thoughts were, ‘hunting partner.’ TJ once said, “He would wait all week in school for he and his dad to go hunting in the badlands on the weekend.”
TJ’s family also owned Barb’s Cafe in Berthold. So, TJ from day one started spending most of his time in the cafe. He along with his older sister Tisa would be bussing dishes and vacuuming. They would make fun out of their work. TJ once told his great aunt Jerry Meyer when he was about seven, I remember when I had a day off, I was four years old, and it was the greatest day.
In his teen years, TJ started working for his uncle Drew Kalenze’s construction business in Mobridge, SD, followed by his uncle Kenny Kalenze’s construction company in Minot. He also worked for Luger Ranches in Ft. Yates.
In 2002 he competed in the National High School Rodeo in Farmington, New Mexico in the team roping with Britt Luger. He then attended Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, WY for a year and a half competing in saddle bronc and team roping in the college rodeo.
After his college days, TJ worked for Miller Land and Livestock in Big Piney, WY, Harry Hamilton in La Barge, WY and JD Yates in Pueblo, Co. In these years he also started TJ Kraft’s Horse Shoeing.
In his mid-twenties TJ worked for Gathman Construction in Berthold, ND. He trained horses for Biz Hepper in FT. Yates. He also lent a hand to Hennessy Builders in Des Lacs.
TJ spent the winters in Stephenville, TX team roping in 2011 and 2012.
In 2013, he started TJ Kraft Construction. His dad always worked alongside him. This past decade he did a lot of unusual construction projects with refurbishing old buildings. TJ recently finished a state-of-the-art shop condo in Berthold, where Drew Kalenze, Ronnie Will and his dad assisted him throughout the project.
In 2018, he also did the calving for Yuly Cattle Co. in Berthold. He maintained his horse shoeing business throughout the years as well as training horses for people. This spring, TJ had the opportunity to help his friend and neighbor Mitch Keiser put the crop in for a couple of weeks. He was “the gopher” and really enjoyed this experience.
His unending passion and love for horses will be forever remembered by his sister. They covered many miles across the country with the mares he trained and their colts, leaving a lasting hoof print. He has also been working on a book about drug addiction, that his family will publish.
TJ is survived by his parents Tom and Barb, sister Tisa, brother-in-law Jon Peek, nephews Blu Miller and River Peek where he would jest with good humor while sharing his knowledge, girlfriend, Ronnie Will along with many aunts and uncles whose knowledge he appreciated and his cousins with whom he had a special bond.
TJ was preceded in death by his grandparents John and Stella Kraft and LeRoy and Merle Kalenze.
Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 2, 2023, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Berthold, ND
Vigil Prayer Service: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Berthold, ND.
Interment: Wildrose Cemetery, Berthold, ND.
Visitation: Thursday, June 1, 2023, from 5- 7 p.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Berthold, ND.
Memorials are preferred to Home on the Range of North Dakota to benefit youth in need.
Memories and condolences can be shared at www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com
Published by The Minot Daily News, May 31, 2023.