May 29, 1934-Sept. 19, 2013
COTTONWOOD - Mass of Christian Burial for Philip James Kroger, 79, of Cottonwood will be at 11 a.m. with visitation at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Clotilde Catholic Church in Green Valley with burial at St. Clotilde Catholic Cemetery. Lynner Funeral Home of Clarkfield is in charge of funeral arrangements.
He died Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, at the Avera-McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Philip James Kroger was born May 29, 1934, to Edward and Avis (Markell) Kroger in Cottonwood. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, Jim loved to hunt, trap, and fish. His love of hunting and fishing would continue for the rest of his life. Jim graduated from Cottonwood High School in 1952. In 1954 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force with his high school friend, Lewon Miller. Jim and Lewon would both go on to spend their careers in the Air Force.
While stationed at Mather Field in Sacramento, Calif., Jim met his future wife Rebecca June Henderson. After a brief engagement, they were united in marriage in Minden, Nev. on Sept. 20, 1954. Shortly after their marriage Jim was stationed in Germany with the World War II Occupation Forces and his wife June moved to Cottonwood to live with Jim's parents.
Jim and June would go on to be stationed in many different places, usually together but sometimes apart. Jim and June were next stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Fla., where their daughter was born. Jim and June greatly enjoyed fishing together while in Florida. In 1959 they were stationed in Chateauroux, France, where their two sons were born. They were then stationed in Glasgow, Mont., where they both enjoyed going to dances at the NCO Club. In 1968 Jim was stationed at U-Tapao Royal Thai Airfield for a one year tour of duty and June and family moved to Austin, Texas. In 1969, upon Jim's return, the family was stationed at Offutt AFB in Omaha, Neb. The family would remain here until Jim's retirement in 1978 when the family relocated one last time to Cottonwood, Jim's hometown.
By the end of Jim's career in the Air Force he had received many citations, awards, and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and three Air Force Commendation Medals.
After retirement, Jim started a second career raising livestock and game birds. Jim continued his love affair with hunting and fishing throughout his retirement, enjoyed spending time with friends, and could always be counted on for the telling or re-telling of a story from days gone by.
Jim is survived by his mother, three brothers, daughter, one son, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Jim was preceded in death by his father, one brother, wife, and one son.
Blessed be his memory.