John Arthur Kroening, son of Arthur Edward Carl and Lydia Marie (Schmid) Kroening, was born October 20, 1936 in Springfield, Minnesota. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Raphael Catholic Church and eventually went on to graduate from Springfield High School, or “the school of hard knocks” as he liked to say. After graduating, John hitchhiked from Minnesota to Florida to play semi-professional baseball. When he was 19, he applied for a job at Pan-Am/RCA on Patrick Air Force Base and was hired by Gloria who would end up becoming the love of his life. Gloria Elizabeth Smith and John were united in marriage November 30, 1957 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Cocoa, Florida and were steadfast partners in crime. The two became parents and, eventually grandparents, when they would then become forever known as “Pawpaw” and “Memaw.”
While John worked at the Cape, he spent several years in the National Guard and was able to travel to Antigua to help build an airport. He worked in logistics and helped manage the building of the majority of NASA’s launch pads. He also participated in both the American Legion and The Teamsters Union. In his spare time, John enjoyed coaching softball and baseball as well as gardening, card games, polka music, camping, and traveling. He also loved spending time with his family and his dogs, who were like his extra children.
John “Pawpaw” Kroening died on Tuesday, June 30, 2021 at the Appleton Area Health Hospital in Appleton, Minnesota. He was 84 years old. He will be forever remembered as the jokester of the family, and the dancer that will twirl his partners endlessly.
John is survived by his wife: Gloria of Hancock; son: John “Johnny” (Sharon) Kroening of Cocoa, FL; Daughter: Theresa (Ric) Barnett of Texarkana, Arkansas; Grandchildren: Dustin “Dusty” Kroening and Amanda (Allen) Fiorentino; eldest sister: Sister Mary Christa Kroening of Duluth, Minnesota; and many nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his beloved fur companion: Artie "Art man"; and grand-fur companion: Apollo “Apple-O”. He was preceded in death by his parents: Arthur and Lydia Kroening; his siblings: Audrey Bambenek, Ted Kroening, Patricia Cady, and Paul Kroening; and his nephew: Sean Cady.
Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of the arrangements.
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