Obituary of Jeanne Frances Kruse
Jeanne Frances (Ackley) Kruse, who lived on Seattle’s Eastside for about 60 years, passed away on October 29, 2023, at age 89. Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents Lloyd G. and Helen F. (Scheer) Ackley, and by three of her four siblings: Patricia (“Pat”) (Ackley) Morrow, Betty Ackley, and William (“Bill”) Ackley.
Jeanne was born in Escanaba, Michigan, the area her parents called home. However, in the mid-1940s, Jeanne’s father was hired by a federal government contractor to work in the Richland, Washington area. Jeanne recalled her experience moving from Michigan to Washington as part of a unique influx of families from all over the country, who were converging in the Tri Cities to contribute their skills to the WWII-era Hanford initiative.
Jeanne graduated from Columbia High School in Richland in 1952. Into her 70s, she enjoyed regularly attending “Bomber” high school class reunions where she saw many longtime friends.
After high school, Jeanne began nursing school at Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane, Washington. However, her nursing education was cut short after she married Henry (“Hank”) Delano Kruse in January 1954. Jeanne’s focus then shifted to supporting her husband’s career and building a family with him. Ultimately, Jeanne gave birth to six children in the years from 1954 through 1965. Her first child was born four days before Jeanne’s 20th birthday, and her sixth child was born a couple of months before Jeanne turned 32.
During this period, Jeanne and Hank moved their growing family to states near and far while Hank pursued a variety of career opportunities and their family continued to grow. Six weeks after the birth of their first child Spokane, Jeanne and daughter Karen moved to Maryland to join Hank, who had enlisted in the Army. A couple of years later, they moved back to Washington, where Jeanne gave birth to her first son, Scott, in Spokane. Son Jay, born in Bellevue, followed in 1957.
Hank honorably ended his Army service after Jay’s birth and began working for the corporate network then known as “Ma Bell.” More Kruse family relocations ensued, as Hank advanced his phone company career with Jeanne providing significant logistical and other support. The family moved to:
· The Bay Area of California, where both their third son, Jack, and their second daughter, were born;
· Sacramento, California, where Jeanne’s brother Bob lived with them while in college;
· Ridgewood, New Jersey (a NYC suburb), where their third daughter, Betsy, was born.
In 1966 Jeanne, Hank and their six children returned to Bellevue. They settled in a new neighborhood called “Trails End,” a horse-acre community just west of what’s now the Microsoft campus. Jeanne developed strong friendships with several Trails End neighbors, relationships that continued even after their families grew up and moved away. Some of Jeanne’s favorite events while living in Trails End were her periodic lunch dates with three other neighborhood mothers who dubbed themselves the “howlers” (after the meme of a coyote howling at the moon).
During her Trails End years, Jeanne was a frequent hostess for visitors from near and far, as well as a prolific cook, baker, and jam-maker. Family favorites included lasagna, cookies and German Chocolate cake. Jeanne and her children would visit U-pick strawberry farms in the summer to harvest what would soon become freezer jam for the following winter, and this gang of child-pickers also regularly harvested blueberries and wild blackberries for home-made pies.
Jeanne and Hank taught their children to work in the yard and the garden, to feed and care for the family’s pet horses, and to look after their siblings. The Kruse home never lacked for activity (and noise) as the Kruse kids and their friends came and went. Yet Jeanne and Hank also found time for adult activities, such as the Guest Guessers (football pool) group they joined and sometimes accompanied to Washington Huskies games.
All of Jeanne’s children graduated from Interlake High School, and five of them graduated from Washington State University, where Jeanne loved to attend Mom’s Weekend events. Yet Jeanne’s family includes some fierce UW Husky fans, which has created fun family rivalries over the years.
Jeanne delighted in her seven grandchildren, who were born between 1989 and 1999. During Jeanne’s late 70s, she moved into her own home directly across the street from her daughter Nancy. This period was highlighted by semi-annual visits from Jeanne’s Florida-based grandsons, during which they stayed with Grandma Jeanne across the street from her other three grandsons. Jeanne reveled in these visits, despite the chaos that sometimes ensued.
Other of Jeanne’s favorite activities were attending her grandchildren’s school, sporting and other events; shopping (especially sales!); occasionally playing the slot machines at casinos; and vacationing in places like Hawaii, Alaska, Fiji, and Europe (Germany, Italy and Greece).
Jeanne was born into a devout Catholic family, and she maintained her Catholic faith throughout her life, attending weekly Mass as long as her health permitted. In her final years, Jeanne declined due to Alzheimer’s. However, her family will always remember Jeanne as a loving and proud mother and grandmother, who was blessed with good humor, humility, and perseverance. We also remember Jeanne as someone who “never met a stranger” (including the people who performed repairs in her home!).
Jeanne is survived by her brother Bob Ackley and his wife Betty of Placerville, California, as well as by her six children: Karen Kruse (Bruce Cross), Scott Kruse (Cathe Farrington), Jay Kruse (Linda Todd), Jack Kruse, Nancy (Kruse) Rusch (Blaine), and Betsy (Kruse) Cohn (Murray). The Cohn family lives in Florida, but the other children live in the Seattle area. Jeanne also leaves behind, seven grandchildren: Brady Rusch (Kailin), Abbie Kruse (Cole Wilhelm), Conner Rusch (Annie), Lizzie (Kruse) Purcell (Jonathan), Matthew Cohn, Michael Cohn, and Carter Rusch. Lizzie and Jonathan are the proud parents of Jeanne’s first great-granddaughter, Margot Joy Purcell, and Conner and Annie are excitedly awaiting the March 2024 birth of Jeanne’s first great-grandson. Jeanne’s loving family also extends to several nieces and nephews from the Ackley side of her heritage, as well as to members of the Kruse family who welcomed Jeanne into their lives.
A funeral Mass celebrating Jeanne’s life will be held on Tuesday, November 21, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Kirkland, Washington with a reception immediately following.