Ron Krueger passed away recently – of natural causes. He was one big contradiction. A complex man with good qualities and challenging habits.
I met Ron at Raven Radio – 30 years ago. I was new to town and the station. I was situated at the first desk people encountered. Ron was a tall, intimidating dude with a watchman’s cap, worn fatigues, scars, and gruff beard. He liked to act menacing. It was his habit to start a rant (as if we were mid conversation) about how much he hated reggae music or the injustice of having to pay garbage fees when he didn’t generate any garbage or how loathsome he found Garrison Keillor. He also bragged of his arsenal.
Try as he might, he didn’t scare me. I smiled at Ron and listened to his stories and through time developed a dear friendship with him – where he revealed his true nature, that of a thoughtful, sensitive, and lonely human who loved the beauty of this world.
He was the unofficial interviewer of Ken Fate. He hounded every news hound the station hired, he tortured every manager Raven has had – pushing the boundaries of FCC regulations, and at times the boundaries of good taste, as Spike on late night radio. But then he was a star to us, acting in Radio theater. A perfect pirate if we ever heard one.
I have never met anyone like him, someone who fought his demons and memories with all his might, yet could turn his affection to beloved kitties and flowers in an instant.
He was confrontational, stubborn, yet a highly intelligent man with stories to share. He wanted to be heard and he felt at home at KCAW because we are patient and we listen – in a way, we are all his family.
When my children were tiny Ron showed up at our door one Christmas with a charming and delicate child’s china tea set – always playing against his type cast.
Ron Krueger tried to goad people into putting a label on him. He was a gruff, gnarly bloke who was adept at antagonizing the authorities and those who tried to pigeon-hole him into a category. He loved weapons and classic literature, drinking whiskey, and recounting this nation’s history. Grousing about all authorities from the local cops to the Forest Service to the UN, then switching to tell you about a special spruce tip syrup recipe.
He once told me my smile saved his life – and I know it was true.
Those of us who called him friend, we mourn for him and our loss. Rest in Peace Ron Krueger – you will be missed and you are loved.
— Lily Herwald
Lily Herwald served as development director and general manager at Raven Radio for a combined 18 years.