Edward John Kraft, 81, passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, Oct 1, 2020.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Martin and Freida; his sister, Betty; brother Bob; his infant son, Rodney Martin; and his first wife, Fay.
Eddy was born on June 13, 1939, in St Xavier, to Martin and Frieda (Keierleber) Kraft. He always told the story that his mom was thinning beets when she went into labor. “She gave birth working south, dropping me in the beet row and collecting me up heading north.” Eddy attended high school in Billings and lived most of his life in and around the Billings area, with the exception of his military service in Massachusetts, and several years in Missoula with his wife Susie.
Eddy met the first love of his life, Fay B Kraft (Kary) at a donkey basketball game in Shepherd, and they were later married in Billings on Jan. 18, 1958. Eddy and Fay built a life together in Billings and raised four children for 28 years until they divorced in 1986. Eddy served his country in Chelsea, Massachusetts, in the army guided missile field for four years. When Eddy got out of the service, he returned to Billings, where he ultimately built and operated his own business, Eddy’s Ornamental Iron, where, over the years, he was able to employ his sons, his son-in-law and had the greatest pleasure of his life working with his father Martin Kraft. Additionally, Eddy held several contracts with the Billings Gazette hauling newspapers across Montana and Wyoming.
Eddy married Susie Kraft on Sept. 20,1986. In Susie, he found a partner for life. Eddy and Susie held several contracts with the US postal service throughout Montana. They enjoyed a very full life together — partners in crime and always by each other’s side in work and play for over 34 years. He always said he was blessed to be married to his best friend. They had an amazing partnership and enjoyed being together. They were family focused always and always had an open door and a meal for any one of the family or extended family. The coffeepot was always brewing up another pot; your cup was always being filled to the top!
Eddy’s greatest joy in life was family. He was happiest surrounded by his kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces and nephews, and a very large extended family that he had built over the years. Once you were part of Eddy’s life, you were in his life forever. Eddy enjoyed his family, hosting his weekly Bible Study group and texting “Good Morning” messages to his kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, friends and other family almost daily!
Eddy is survived by his loving wife, Susie; and his children, Rick Kraft, Teri (Mike) Waleri, Randey (Robert) Arnold-Kraft, Rod (Kara) Kraft, Jeff Gratwohl, Jamie (Bart) Brower; 20 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
He was the patriarch of our family and the glue that kept us all together. He was a man of very deep wisdom and gave the best advice. Papa Eddy, we are blessed to have you in our hearts and families forever. AND we will remember your words, “It is always darkest before the light — have patience, your light will shine through!”
Donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, RiverStone Hospice, Yellowstone Animal Shelter or charity of choice.
Services will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave.