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OBIT: Lyle Krumm

Our dear father, brother, grandpa, great grandpa, cousin and friend, Lyle Krumm, passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023. He was 91.

Our dear father, brother, grandpa, great grandpa, cousin and friend, Lyle Krumm, passed away on Friday, March 3, 2023. He was 91.

Lyle W. Krumm was born on August 25, 1931, to George Krumm and Myrtle (Steiger) Krumm. He was the second of two children. They lived on a farm east of Kensett, Iowa, just two miles south of his Grandpa Krumm’s farm. When Lyle was a small child they moved to that farm and for most of the rest of his life this would be his home. The Krumm’s belonged to the United Methodist Church in Bolan, Iowa, an affiliation he kept his entire life.

Lyle had many fun memories of his childhood on Grandpa August’s farm – Bud and Beauty, the giant Percheron workhorses that helped with the farm work, the goats that would pull him around in a little cart, the apple orchard. Lyle first attended rural schools. Eighth grade through high school he attended school in Kensett where he played basketball and baseball with his cousins and the other boys. He graduated in 1949 and stayed on the farm to help his dad.

In 1950 Lyle moved to Omaha to attend railroad school. He worked for a boot company when he wasn’t taking classes on Morse code, bookkeeping and shipping/receiving. He even sent a pair of boots to Ronald Reagan! He was known his whole life to be soft spoken and quiet but he wasn’t shy. He made friends fast and wasn’t afraid to have fun. He and the other guys from the boarding house liked to go to movies and out on the town. After training, his first job was in Kensett as Depot Agent with Rock Island Railroad.

The Korean conflict was in full swing when Lyle was drafted late in 1951. In January of 1952 he reluctantly said goodbye to his folks and headed to basic and signal corp training at Camp Gordon just outside of Augusta, Georgia. Naturally, he was expected to train as a radio operator utilizing the skills he had learned in railroad school.

Military code (International Morse Code) has a few differences from the Western Union/American Morse Code used on the railroad. Lyle found that challenging but he completed his training and was destined for Japan. He flew to California, the last stop before being shipped out of San Francisco by ship in November 1952. “Colorado and Nevada may look pretty at sundown but they couldn’t sell me both states for a penny,” he wrote to his folks. He regularly wrote to them about the days and ways of Army life and wasn’t impressed with some of the Army’s quirks, especially some of the menial tasks and expectations. “AH! Yes that wonderful word polish. I will know the meaning of that word when I get out if I don’t learn anything else.”

He was stationed at Chitose about 20 miles from Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido, a Private in the United States Army, 1st Cavalry Division, Artillery Radio Operator. Days were spent on radio, guard duty, KP, and figuring out ways to beat the boredom. He longed for home and the farm. “I am telling you that jeep is harder on a guy’s back than riding a tractor over a plowed field. Of course there isn’t too much difference between a plowed field and the roads over here.”

The truce was signed in July 1953 so Lyle was grateful to have avoided setting foot in Korea. In August he was promoted to Corporal but he began counting the days until his enlistment ended. He turned down a promotion to Sergeant so he could return home and on Christmas Eve, 1953, his parents met The Rocket at the train station in Manly and he stepped off. “I was so excited to be home I picked up Ma. Never had done that before and never did it again!”

He went back to Rock Island Railroad for a bit but Lyle was born to be a farmer. When his dad rented more land and suggested he come and farm with him full time he didn’t hesitate. For the next several years as he helped his dad he also acquired his own land and made a name for himself as a reliable, no-nonsense, successful man. He was never a big fan of travel so found plenty to do near home including hunting, softball and bowling with his cousins and lifelong friends.

In the spring of 1968 events occurred which changed the direction of Lyle’s life. A dear friend, Delbert Hanson, passed away. Lyle and others from the leagues stepped in to help on the farm and Lyle served as pallbearer. As was his nature, he offered assistance to Margaret, Delbert’s wife, should she ever need it. From time to time she accepted that assistance. A bond developed between Lyle and Margaret and they were married on June 19, 1971. Initially, they lived on the Hanson farm but when Lyle’s dad retired in 1973 they moved to the Krumm farm where he and Margaret remained for the next 46 years. Lyle legally adopted Margaret’s children in 1983 which meant being Dad was official! Another happy milestone for Lyle was in 2014 when the Krumm farm earned the designation of Century Farm, a distinction that made him feel very humbled but proud. Lyle and Margaret celebrated their 50th anniversary with their daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren in June 2021.

Lyle was a steady help mate and support to Margaret. At the same time, he continued doing the things he loved which included bowling. One of the last years he belonged to a league he almost had a perfect game. By the time he got up to bowl the tenth frame there wasn’t another sound in the bowling alley as everyone held their breath and watched. He hit another strike but then spared. “If everyone had just kept bowling and ignored me I might have been able to do it!” When he could no longer go to the lanes he bowled on the Wii gaming unit his family gave to him!

His family and others will remember him for his love of popcorn, his quiet manner, the one line zingers that could come out of nowhere, the twinkle in his eye, the way he couldn’t say no to his kids and grandkids, his incredible skill at fixing things and, last but not least, his obsession with the yard! With multiple riding mowers and a tractor rigged to do a swath twice as wide, he kept the lawn, ditches and field lanes like a golf course. In winter, there wasn’t a ridge of snow to be seen between the house and the barn – “squeegeed” one daughter said! That level of particular was evidence of a very stubborn and perfectionist character but Lyle was generous to a fault. He made sure his family was taken care of and he wouldn’t turn away a friend in need. There was more than one stranger that benefited from his charitable nature. During his time in Japan he gave up an opportunity to tour the country.
Instead, he stayed and helped a local orphanage with some farm work and much needed repairs.

Lyle is preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, his son, Doyle Hanson, and his parents. He is survived by his two daughters, Eloise Shipman of Corwith, Iowa and Wendy Hanson of Salt Lake City, Utah; his grandchildren Michael Shipman (Brooke) of Greensboro, North Carolina, Kelly Berte (Calvin) of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Alexa Hanson Wagner of Salt Lake City, Utah and David Martin (Jacque) of Everett, Washington; his great grandchildren, Victoria Shipman, Cole and Jack Berte; his sister, Lois Krumm of Mason City and his sister-in-law, Ardis Hanson of Northwood.

There will be an informal visitation on Friday, March 10, at the United Methodist Church in Bolan, Iowa, from 3:30 – 5:30pm. A celebration of life will be held in conjunction with Margaret’s on Saturday, July 1st, at the Carpenter Community Center, Carpenter, Iowa. Details to come.

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