John Cruse II Obituary

John Eldon Cruse II
John Eldon Cruse II

May 9, 1920 - June 20, 2009
Born in Motley, MN
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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John Eldon Cruse, II died June 20, 2009 at Bright Kavanagh House after a courageous battle with Parkinson's disease. He was born May 9, 1920 in Motley, MN to Ellwood and Hilda Cruse. The middle child of two sisters, he grew up loving horses and farming. He enjoyed helping his grandfather with his many racehorses and worked throughout his childhood for the local grocer. Growing up, he enjoyed playing polo, wrestling, and was captain of his high school football team.

He joined the Navy in 1942 and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands as an OS2U Kingfisher aircraft radio operator. Having crash landed at least once and enduring several other mishaps, his time in Alaska gave him a deep devotion to God. Upon completion of his time in Alaska, he was asked to attend flight school at California Polytechnic State University. While in California, he met a lovely young woman from Iowa, Shirley Bell. After completing flight school, he returned to Iowa as the war had ended. Happily, he reunited with Shirley, and after a long courtship, they were married April 4, 1948 in Des Moines.

John Cruse attended The University of Iowa on the GI Bill where he majored in Art History. He was a proud member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was involved in alumni affairs throughout his life, attending his final Pig Dinner in 2001. He wrestled for the University of Iowa during his college career and always remained an avid Hawkeye fan.

John worked in the construction industry for most of his life. He was most accomplished in the brick industry, having worked for Midland Brick and Glen-Gery Brick for many years. He retired from Glen-Gery having been a top salesman for the duration of his time with the company.

Never one to stop working, he founded his own brick engraving company upon retirement: Cruse Enterprises. His bricks can be seen at the Iowa State Fair, The University of Iowa and Iowa State University, along with hundreds of other sites throughout the country. In its 17 year run, Cruse Enterprises operated solely out of John's home until he was 86. He loved helping people, and he loved his clients. He was happiest working, chatting and having coffee and donuts with his close friends.

His most prized accomplishment was being a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He proudly raised six children with Shirley: J.C. (Patty), Fred (JoAnn), Mary, Hildy, Gail (Eddie), and Katy. He was blessed to have 15 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. His love and devotion to us was immeasurable. We were so lucky to have had him in our lives.

Please join us as we celebrate John's life at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church of which he and his wife Shirley were founding members in 1955. The family will greet friends at a visitation on Tuesday from 5-7 pm and the funeral will be held on Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorial contributions be made to Bright Kavanagh House at 3000 Easton Blvd., St. Timothy's Episcopal Church or to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research ( Go HAWKS!





St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
1020-24th Street
West Des Moines, IA US 50266
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
1020 - 24th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
3:00 PM


St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
1020 - 24th Street
West Des Moines, IA 50265