Ernest C. Krauth
June 10, 2018

June 10, 2018 Ernest C. Krauth

Ernest Christian Krauth, (DOB June 5, 1924, Cleveland, Ohio) took his final journey after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure.  Ernest was a loving husband, father, and patriot (WWII Veteran).  A child of the Depression, he learned early the value of hard work, entrepreneurship, and the love of family.  His life’s work included mechanical and electrical engineering, construction contracting, and cattle ranching.  He fell in love with the Colorado Rockies, and will be returned to rest with other family members on the ranch in New Castle which he managed for many years.  He was a graduate of Case (Western Reserve) Institute of Technology, and entered the Army Air Corp when the U.S. entered the war, where he was commissioned and served as a Navigator and Weather Specialist, US Army Air Corps.  Ernest was preceded in death by his parents (Bertha and Christian); 3 siblings (Christian Henry, Alice Pesta, and Arthur) of Cleveland, Ohio; his wife of 49 years, Martha L. (Klein); and his daughter, Cynthia. Ernest is survived, loved and remembered by his wife, Lydia (Szewczyk) Krauth, of Seven Springs, FL; his son, Dr. Lee Krauth (New Castle, CO); his daughter, Debra Krauth Ballinger, Ph.D. (Tamiment, PA); 8 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.  He is also remembered by Lydia’s daughters Nadia (Dorsey), and Maria (Szewczyk).  His wishes were that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in honor of Martha L. Krauth to the American Cancer Society, and in his honor to the American Heart Association


Memories of my father: Ernest Christian Krauth

(June 5, 1924-June 10, 2018)

A child of the Depression, Ernest learned by the age of 10 to work hard with his father in the family painting and contracting business.    He excelled in school, and was a member of the gymnastics club (Turnverein), Boy Scouts (achieving Eagle Scout rank), Key Club, and various honor society’s throughout his school years.   He was also Class President of his HS class.  He had a brother ten years older, Chris (Henry) on his father’s side, a sister from his mother (Alice) 8 years his senior, and younger brother, Art to round out the family.  All preceded him in death.

He had begun college at Case Institute of Technology when the U.S. entered the war.   He was commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he attended Navigator training, as well as Weather School, taking him to Williams AFB and Ames, Iowa.   Graduating those programs at the top of his class led him into roles stateside as a training instructor, so he didn’t see active combat during WWII.  After the war, he returned to Case/Western Reserve University to complete his double major in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering where he reconnected with his wife to be, Martha L. Klein, who was completing her Masters degree in Medical Technology.  Dad and Mom had known one another through the Turnverein in Cleveland, as well as through church where his Dad attended, and her father preached sermons in German during the war years to German immigrants.

Ernie and Martha were married in her father’s church by the Reverend Dr. Walter K. Klein, on June 5, 1947.   He began his engineering career with General Motors, as a plant engineer in Cleveland. Their firstborn, Dr. Lee E. Krauth, and second child Dr. Debra (Krauth) Ballinger, were born in 1950 and 1951, followed by Cynthia Louise, in 1954.   As the Korean conflict was heating up, Ernest was recalled for duty, as a Captain in the USAF, and prepared for deployment out of NYC.   At the last minute, with the war slowing down, all men with 2 or more children were relieved of duty and sent home.  He continued his work at the Chevrolet plant, until 1958, at which time he was considered for plant manager position, along with his good friend.   When Dad didn’t get the position, he and Mom decided to pack up the family and move to Colorado, to manage the 3 ranches her father (Grandpa Klein) and two other ministers had acquired during the Depression.   So, we were loaded up into Mom’s new pink Cadillac and a dump truck loaded with our belongings, and drove cross country to our new home in New Castle Colorado.

The ranching years found him sitting tall in the saddle, bringing innovative ideas to ranching, and raising our own feed (hay, corn, oats, barley) for the Herefords we ran on forest land in the summer and BLM lands during Spring and Fall grazing.    We also raised chickens, and sold the eggs to local supermarkets, and were known to have a couple of sheep, several dogs, a big garden, and many horses to care for.  Dads favorite job on the ranch was actually irrigating, where, when the cattle were on summer range, he would spend hours moving water around the irrigation ditches, and could be seen pondering who knows what on the hillsides of the ranch.   During haying season, he would be seen aboard the tractor and mower sporting a gas mask and goggles to avoid serious allergy attacks.   Those allergies led to him (and me) travelling weekly to Rifle for shots, during which time I had him to myself for a couple of hours a week.  One such adventure led to me having to drive him back to the hospital (at only 12 years of age) as he had an adverse reaction on our way home from the doctor – luckily we weren’t stopped on the highway!

Always the stern German, some of the craziest memories include having to stop him from hitting my pony (Target) over the head with a 2×4, after he had decided to show me how to keep Target from running under the apple tree branch to sweep me off.   Target won that war and proceeded to brush Dad off, pipe in mouth.  That 2×4 was also almost used to teach Cuddles (Cindi’s rescue sheep) not to butt me (lesson was actually that I shouldn’t be afraid).  Of course, Cuddles proceeded to butt Dad, and almost incurred his wrath with the plank!  Another exciting series of memories centers around his desire to prove his skills roping cattle.   A cow had drowned in a ditch, so he and two other men were forced to lasso it to drag the carcass out of the ditch.   His horse, Joker (aptly named) wanted nothing to do with the dead cow on the end of the rope, and bucked Dad off – however his saddle came loose and twisted around so Dad was dangling under the horse.  He barely escaped that episode, with a hoofprint through his cowboy hat to prove the seriousness of the incident.   Another roping episode involved Lee’s 4-H heifer, who had been tethered to a rope and old tire to graze in the orchard.   Buttercup got spooked and took off dragging the tire, running out onto the road, and the faster she ran, the more the tire bumped along with her.   We got a call from neighbors and jumped into the pick-up truck with Dad in the back attempting to lasso Buttercup down the main street (Highway 6 & 24) through town.

We all got plenty of roping practice during branding time, each spring.  We would rope the calves and drag them out of the corrals for branding (VIX brand), ear marking, and vaccinations prior to taking the cattle to Klein Top – our summer grazing range in the National Forest.

Dad loved the ranch, but the town was small, and the schools less than challenging.   So as Lee and I were about to enter HS; the Interstate 70 and government had forced us to sell the I<< in Silt due to eminent domain; and the family wasn’t exactly in agreement about improvements and the future of the ranch; Dad and Mom sold their shares of the ranch back to the family, and packed us up to move back to Ohio.   There he began the job of project manager for the building of the new Chevrolet and Fischer Body assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and we began a new life in Canfield, Oh.

Dad and Mom had wonderful friends there, and the men used to joke that when they died, they wanted to come back as a Canfield Housewife!   They were in bowling leagues, played bridge, attended Indians and Browns ball games, and lots of couple events, as well as began travelling to places yet unseen (Hawaii, Aruba, et al).  Once the plant was completed, Dad stayed on with Shutrump construction, Inc., as VP of construction.   However, when Fred Sr. turned the business over to his son, Dad left to join DeBartolo Construction (as in Ed DeBartolo), to oversee various shopping mall construction in West Virginia, and eventually down to West Palm Beach, FL.   That led him to his move to FL with Mom in 1972, once Cindi had graduated from HS and Lee and I from college.   When the mall was completed, Dad decided to try his hand with Pepsico Building systems, in the greater Tampa, area, and they moved to Innisbrook, where he commuted daily to Plant City.   Pepsico took on contracts with ARAMCO, which led him to move with Mom to Saudi Arabia, where they lived, worked, and travelled the world for 10 years.

Just as we were being transferred to Saudi Arabia, Dad and Mom had decided to return stateside.   Dad was jilted out of his pension from the Saudi’s, so couldn’t retire in the style to which they were accustomed.  Thus, with Frank and I, and Justin there, he returned to Saudi (Riyadh) for a 2 year contract, and he and Mom were there for the birth of Lyndsey.  Dad and Mom taught Justin to swim in the pool outside their compound door while babysitting – and letting Frank and me take trips to Egypt (before Lyndsey was born) and to Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, watching both kids. We all left Saudi Arabia about the same time, us moving to Phoenix again (Williams AFB and ASU), and them back to FL, with Dad retired but doing some various consulting around the country.   They visited us several times in Tempe,  and were there for the birth of Mandy.   Dad was driving me to the base hospital while I was in labor – and I had to keep telling him to slow down – he was so nervous.  Mom stayed with Justin and Lyndsey.  So although they weren’t in the same part of the world for Justin’s birth, they were there for the birth of both girls, in Saudia Arabia and in Arizona.

It was shortly after that time that Dad finally retired, and he and Mom took several cruises and vacations.   Mom was diagnosed with her multiple myeloma cancer in 1994, and passed away Sept. 15, 1996 in FL.   Dad had become the supreme caregiver by then – a side of him I had never seen before.   Caring, supporting, bathing her and cooking and cleaning – the whole time she was ill.   When he called to say she was in the hospital and on life-support he was totally devastated.

For the next few years he would come visit, and also was taking care of Cindi with her various bi-polar episodes and escapades – including bailing her out of jail, sending her to rehab, and letting her live with him.  During that time, he met Lydia Szewczyk, a real estate broker and owner of Unique Properties and he fell in love again.  In 2003 they were married in Bermuda, with the celebration attended by family.  His life with Lydia was enjoyed by them sharing their love of building, fixing up, and selling real estate; their travels on cruises, golfing, dining and dancing, and a train trip across the U.S. and Canada.

He was lucky to have found love twice in his life, and to have lived to the ripe old age of 94.

As his daughter, I remember so much more that he taught me over the years – how to love and support his children; how to remain fair and honest in business; to do the best you can in all endeavors; and to not give up when the going gets rough.  He was a risk taker and gambler with his investments and his willingness to pick up stakes and move on to unknown opportunities.   He worked hard – and long – some times to a fault.   But he never stopped being faithful to his family, and was proud to the end of his children and grandchildren.

May he find peace and comfort in the afterlife.   I have his memories – but will miss his phone calls, love, and support.  To all of his grandchildren – remember he loved you and set an example to live by.

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