Obituary Details

Donald "Donny" Rex Kraft

(05/22/1927 - 01/01/2022)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 05/18/2022

Long time Niobrara rancher, Donald R. Kraft, 94, passes away on January 1, 2022 at the Douglas Care Center. Internment was held at the Lusk Cemetery. Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m., Saturday May 21, at the Niobrara Senior Center.

Donny, as his parents knew him, was born May 22, 1927 at the family homestead on Plum Creek to Henry and Inez Kraft. He attended school at the Jim Christian place. He grew up on the ranch with his brother Robert and two younger sisters, Thelma and Barie Lee. Donny spent most of his time "following his dad wherever he went," doing chores, attending school and singing along with hos guitar. Donald also attended Lusk High School.

His older brother Bob was killed in February of 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge and Donald, in his own grief, watched his father, Hank shut down and he died only three years later from a ruptured gall bladder. Donald was only 21 and he was faced with the responsibility of running the family ranch and providing for his mother and sisters.

Three years later a breath of fresh air came into Donald's life. He and best friend Frank Dryer were at a dance in lost Springs and there  he met a vivacious and pretty young lady, Dorene Martin. On June 1, 1953 they were married and to this union was born five boys.

When he had a little free time from ranching Donald loved to shoot and reload his ammunition and fashioned all sorts of custom wooden and metal inlays in his and Dorene's rifles. He could repair nearly anything and enjoyed doing so, rebuilding nearly all of  his machinery from the ground up. He could often be seen in later years in his "Michigan" building and repairing roads around the ranch. He taught the boys any of these crafts they were willing to learn. Don was also known for his infectious laugh that included slapping his legs and bouncing feet with abandon.

Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Inez, siblings Robert Kraft, Ella Kraft, Barie Lee Rumney and Thelma Freeman.

Donald is survived by his wife Dorene and five sons, Shane, Randy (Larree Ann), Kelly (Diane), Don, (Carrie), Wade, (Lois) and grandchildren; Jeremiah, Amanda, (Calvin), Kyle, Benjamin, Gabriel, Alanna, Jesse, Adam, Paxton and nine great-grandchildren.

Any memorials may be sent to the Niobrara Senior Center in Lusk.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Kraft, Henry (12/26/1892 - 11/26/1948) View Record
Obituary Kraft, Robert (02/27/1925 - 02/07/1945) View Record
Obituary Kraft, Inez (06/08/1902 - 11/26/1984) View Record
Obituary Rumney, Barie (02/15/1940 - 06/05/1997) View Record
Obituary Freeman, Thelma (11/26/1936 - 10/23/2013) View Record