Call us on the number below:
Close this window
Lucille Thomas Kruse (Lucy) passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family, on Sunday, March 12, 2023 at the age of 100. She was born April 18, l922 in Falfurrias, TX., into the pioneer Thomas family. Her childhood was spent on the small family farm which always stayed dear to her heart. She remembered spending time outdoors climbing trees, looking for turtles and frogs in the earthen stock tank, playing with the dogs, riding the horses, watching the “milking” of the cows and enjoying the lush vegetation including a small orchard of citrus trees. She graduated from Falfurrias High School in l940. She then attended Texas A&I College in Kingsville. It was there she met her husband, Olan Kruse, a fellow student and Physics major. They married in 1942. During World War 11 she lived with her navy officer husband in Belmar, NJ; New York City; Cambridge, MA and Brunswick. ME. After the war they returned to Texas where Olan attended graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin. After completion of his PhD, he accepted a job as a physics professor at Stephen F. Austin, in Nacogdoches, TX. After five years the family moved to Kingsville, TX where Olan was chairman of The Physics Department at Texas A&I (now Texas A&M University – Kingsville) for 31 years.
Lucille’s first work experience was clerical when she worked in her father’s Real Estate and Cattle Loan Office in Falfurrias. While living in New Jersey she worked as a typist for Civil Service. In Cambridge, Massachusetts she worked in a Polaroid Lab vacuuming small lenses for a military device. Later she was employed in the alumnae office of Radcliff University in Cambridge. Lucille held a bachelor’s degree in history from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX. She taught 12 years in the Epiphany Episcopal School in Kingsville. After retirement she took numerous courses that interested her at the University in Kingsville – Astronomy, Spanish, Pre-Columbian culture and Border Culture. She had a fascination with ancient history and cultures and especially enjoyed the sites of Indigenous people of Latin America. She and Olan also wandered through the ruins of Italy, Greece and Egypt – and Hadrian’s Wall in Britain.
As well as foreign travels Lucy and Olan spent time in each of the 50 states. They visited much of Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. They had a great love of Mexico and the Western United States. They gave slide presentations to various organizations of the places they had visited.
With husband Olan, she endowed two Texas A&M University student scholarships and the annual “Olan Kruse Science Faculty Award.” The Language and Literature Department named an annual visiting author lecture the “Lucille Kruse Lecture.”
She was a charter member of the Conner Museum volunteer organization, Las Manos. She was an active member of the United Methodist Women, Methodist Church, Womans’ Club of Kingsville, The Kleberg County Historical Commission, the Music Club of Kingsville, The Kingsville Garden Club, The University Women’s Club, The President’s Circle and American Cancer Society.
For years, Lucille tutored in the Literacy Program and volunteered at the Kingsville Railroad Museum and John Conner Museum, she served on the boards of Child Protective Services, The Methodist Child Development Board and the board of The Friends of the Conner Museum.
She contributed articles called “Remembrances” to her hometown newspaper, the Falfurrias Facts, and human-interest articles to the Kingsville Record newspaper. She also wrote articles about Kingsville downtown businesses to help promote the downtown. In 2010 at the age of 88, Lucille wrote and published a book, DEEP in the BRUSH COUNTRY, a folk history about growing up in Falfurrias, TX in the l920s and l930s. She wrote the history of First United Methodist Church Kingsville which was accepted by The Texas Historical Commission to permit the placement of the THC medallion on the church building. She published in The Journal of South Texas, a South Texas Historical Association publication. She continued to contribute to the Kingsville Record newspaper.
Lucille is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Olan Kruse; son, Larry Kruse; parents, John and Annie Mae Thomas; brother, John C. Thomas Jr.; and sister, Catherine Thomas Allan.
She is survived by her son, John Kruse (Gloria) of Falfurrias, Texas; grandson, Christopher Kruse; granddaughter, Jolana Kruse Erichsen (Omar); great granddaughter, Amorie Erichsen; great grandson, Major Erichsen of Austin, TX.; nieces, Betty Alley and Mary Craig; nephews, Jackson Wilson and Kirk Wilson; wife of her late son, Celia Kruse; step granddaughter, Ann Ruiz; step great grandchildren, Justin Sanchez, Ricky Clark, Madisyn Clark, and Branson Clark.
The family will receive condolences on Thursday, March 23, 2023, from 5:00PM to 8:00PM at Turcotte-Piper Mortuary. A final viewing will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Cook-Walden Forrest Oaks Funeral Home, Austin, TX. A rite of committal will follow at Cook-Walden Forrest Oaks Memorial Park, Austin, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Kruse scholarships at the A&M University – Kingsville, The Conner Museum, First United Methodist Church of Kingsville, or a charity of choice.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.