Obituary Details

Paul Richard Kruse

(11/13/1951 - 02/16/2009)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 02/25/2009

Paul Richard Kruse

Funeral services for Paul Richard Kruse, 57, will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2009, at St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne, WY. Interment will follow at 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 21, 2009 at the Lusk Cemetery in Lusk, WY. The family also plans to have a celebration of Paul's life in the summer of 2009. Paul died peacefully in his sleep on February 16, 2009 in Torrington, WY.

Paul R. Kruse was born in Lusk, WY on November 13, 1951. He was the youngest son of A.D. Flores and Hazel Rowse Kruse. Paul attended Cow Creek Rural Elementary School, Lusk Elementary, and graduated from Niobrara County High School in 1970.

While at Niobrara County High School, Paul was a standout basketball player, earning All-State honors twice and playing on two State Champion basketball teams (1969-70). He was recruited by over 175 collegiate teams, beginning his sophomore year. Duke, Maryland, Miami, and others heavily recruited Paul, however he chose the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque because of its tradition, location, and coach.

As a student at UNM, he majored in special education, graduating with a B.A. in 1975. He was very active in student politics, serving as Senator at Large in the Student Senate, President of the UNM Student Council for Exceptional Children, and Vice-President of the State Student Council for Exceptional Children. Paul also maintained his commitment as basketball player by first helping lead his beloved Lobos to become the Western Athletic Conference Champions and then on to winning the gold medal in the World University Games in 1974.

After earning his B.A., the next three years were spent in Albuquerque, NM public schools. Paul not only taught special education classes, but was also the Chairman of the Special Education Department. In 1978, Paul applied for and was accepted into the University of New Mexico Law School and subsequently was elected President of the UNM Graduate Student Association. He also served, at this time, as Ex-Officio Member of the UNM Board of Regents. He graduated with his Juris Doctorate degree in 1981.

Paul accepted a position in Washington, D.C. as counsel for the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He then worked for United States Senator Malcolm Wallop as a Legislative Assistant from 1981-1984.

In 1984, he accepted a position with Pennzoil Company as Senior Washington Representative. He worked in this position from 1984-1990. In 1991, Paul became Associate Solicitor for Energy and Resources in the Department of Interior. He was the 3rd ranking official in the 390 person office of the Solicitor.

Paul returned to Wyoming and took a job as Assistant Director of Federal Land Policy for the State of Wyoming, in 1994. He worked for the State until 1998, at which time he started his own private practice, specializing in natural resource issues. He continued his practice until his death.

In his professional career, he was admitted to the New Mexico, District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania Bars, the United States Courts of Appeals for the 5th, 9th, and 11th Circuits, the U.S. Court of Claims, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Paul was an active member of the Republican Party, serving as a Delegate to the New York City Republican National Convention and as an Alternate to the Philadelphia Republican National Convention. He was the Wyoming GOP permanent State Convention Secretary. Paul was a member of the Wyoming State Republican Party Executive Committee for 7 years, the Central Committee for 9 years, and was a 9 year member of the Niobrara County Executive Committee. He served as a Niobrara County State Committeeman for 9 years as well.

In 2007, Paul ran for the United States Senate seat, which was vacated by the death of Senator Craig Thomas.

Paul traveled the world but never lost his rural roots and remained in contact with the Kruse Ranch. He had his own herd of cattle and helped when he could with ranch activities. This simple country kid went from being raised in a house with a wood stove for heat and no running water to dining in the White House with United States Presidents and foreign diplomats. His true strength was befriending people from all walks of life; the wealthiest individuals to the poorest beggars; they were all his friends. He treated everyone he met like they were the most special people in his life. Paul never married nor had children, but was a father to every child that came across his path. He had a special affection for his nieces and nephews and bragged on them every chance that he could. They include Patrick (and Kim) and great-nephew Thomas Morgan, Dana (and Steve) Harmon, Brian Morgan, James P., Joseph, and Jada Kruse, and Jaren and Josie Voight.

Paul is survived by his sister Kathy and her husband Dave Morgan, and brother James W. Kruse. He was preceded in death by his parents, A.D. Flores and Hazel Rowse Kruse and sister-in-law Linda Dickinson Kruse.

Memorials may be sent to a charity of the donor's choice or they may be sent to the Paul Kruse Special Education Memorial c/o The Lusk State Bank, Lusk, WY 82225.

The Lusk Herald
February 18, 2009
Niobrara son, Paul Kruse, fondly remembered

Death came unexpectedly to one of Niobrara County's beloved sons, Paul Kruse, on Feb. 16. Kruse was 57 years old at the time of his death.

"We have lost a great friend. Paul Kruse was among Wyoming's most distinguished citizens. Paul was a solid, wise and tenacious advocate for Wyoming - on the basketball court for the state champion Lusk Tigers, in the halls of the US Senate as an advisor to Senator Malcolm Wallop, or in the Wyoming Capital as an aide to Governor Jim Geringer.Both Bobbi and I counted on Paul for frank and honest advice," said Sen. John Barrasso. "His passing leaves us with a void. We will miss him greatly."

Although he hasn't lived in Lusk for many years he still maintained close ties with the community. Kruse credited the values and lessons learned from his rural roots for his success in work, politics and athletics.

The first son of the late A.D. and Hazel Kruse, he grew up with his brother Jim and his sister Kathy, on their family ranch 55 miles north of Lusk. He attended school in a two-room schoolhouse at Cow Creek county school.

Kruse began his athletic career surprisingly not in basketball, but opted to wrestle often failing to win his matches. He then went on to great success in basketball. Graduating in 1970 from Niobrara County High School, Kruse attended the University of New Mexico on a basketball scholarship.

After graduating with a degree in special education with a psychology minor, Kruse stayed in Albuquerque where he was hired as chairman of a middle school special education department, and taught gifted and learning disabled students while managing a five teacher program. After three years, Kruse once told the Herald, that he had become disillusioned because of effects that the legal system had on his program, so he decided to attend law school, enrolling again at the University of New Mexico.

While in law school, Kruse served as the law representative to and later was elected president of the Graduate Students Association, which represented all of the graduate departments and professional schools and students on the UNM campus. By virtue of that position, he also served on the University of New Mexico's Board of Trustees.

Kruse was not only known for his height, over seven feet tall, he was also known for his passion of community and government involvement.

After graduating in 1981 with a law degree Kruse traveled to Washington D.C. where he was offered positions on both the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and as counsel on the U.S. Senate's Select Committee on Ethics. The deciding factor was choosing the latter because Wyoming's senior senator Malcolm Wallop was the chairman.

Kruse succeeded in a long political and law career working closely with the Wyoming Republican Party and many political figures from governors to mayors.

He chaired many committees and spent 15 years working as counsel to the United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics, which is the same committee on which Sen. Craig Thomas had served. Kruse was also appointed by President George H.W. Bush to chief counsel for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. Later, he was promoted to associate solicitor for the Division of Energy and Resources. In that capacity he provided legal advice to the U.S. Department of the Interior's five key natural resource agencies.

Kruse later returned to Wyoming to work for Gov. Jim Geringer, advising the governor on the Bureau of Land Management's Wyoming Resource Advisory Council. After that he returned to the private sector, forming his own consulting firm.

Kruse will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the beloved community that he credited with his learned morals and values. Mass of Christian Burial for Paul R. Kruse will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009 at St. Mary's Cathedral, 2107 Capitol Ave., Cheyenne, Wyo. Rosary will be recited at the Cathedral on Fri., Feb. 20, at 7 p.m.

Graveside services will be in Lusk, Wyo., at the Lusk Cemetery, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21. A party in Paul's honor is planned at a later date in Lusk. Wiederspahn-Radomsky Chapel is in charge of arrangements in Cheyenne. Pier Funeral Home is handling arrangements in Lusk. A full obituary will be published at a later date.

Editors note: Excerpts have been used from previous Lusk Herald Articles.

Images & Attachments


Photo by Debbie Rose
Photo courtesy of Jim Kruse

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Kruse, Hazel (01/09/1916 - 02/22/1996) View Record
Obituary Kruse, Linda (06/27/1950 - 01/08/1996) View Record
Obituary Kruse, Jennie (10/27/1880 - 11/06/1966) View Record
Obituary Kruse, William (08/27/1891 - 03/09/1965) View Record
Obituary Kruse, A.D. (03/07/1918 - 11/02/2006) View Record
Historical Kruse Ranch History View Record