Love Labors for Charity; Kruegers Give More Than Quilts

“Before we got married the pastor said I would be tired from doing the work in the house and he (her fiancé) would ask me to come help with the rest of the chores.  And he did,” Sylvia Krueger, 89, teases her husband, Meinhard Krueger, 90. They will both be 90 for one day in August. The next day Meinhard Krueger will turn 91.

Sylvia Krueger and Meinhard Krueger

Sylvia Krueger and Meinhard Krueger

A young Sylvia would wait in the house until the neighborhood boy would pass by or he would try to ask her if he could walk her to school. She says that neighborhood boy asked her to marry him 67 years ago and she still doesn’t know if she likes him. They must have teased each other through many chores and still do.

Lori Delain, volunteer disaster chair, says the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter provides the donated quilts for families who are displaced by fires or another disasters. “They really love the fact that they are homemade and are very comforting in their time of need.  They are not only warm, but very colorful and cheery which boosts the client’s spirits when they have just lost all or most of their belongings.  We could go and buy some blankets, but it isn’t the same as getting a quilt that someone has put a lot of time and energy into making.”

For years Meinhard Krueger was asking Sylvia Krueger for help but now he is helping her with her quilt making. When they retired 35 years ago, their daughter, Judith Brantmeier, suggested they make quilts for Wayside Church. The church sent quilts overseas until it became too expensive.

They still make an average of 100 quilts a year that go to various charitable organizations including the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter, the Salvation Army and the De Pere Christian Outreach. Several years ago they saw their distinctive quilt blocks in the paper in a photo with an article about local homeless people. “It’s nice the quilts are being distributed to people who really need them here.”

Homemade Quilts

Homemade Quilts

He cuts and she sews. Brantmeier knots the quilts since Sylvia Krueger kept pulling a muscle in her chest from all the reaching. After Sylvia Krueger visited the emergency room two times because of chest pains Brantmeier insisted no more knotting. So now the quilting is a family effort with the daughter doing the knotting for the past nine years. Before going on a trip to Las Vegas, Brantmeier made sure she had 14 quilts knotted, “to keep them out of trouble.”

This last Christmas, the Kruegers made quilts for their grandkids and great-grandkids as a keepsake. They made two more this spring for their newest great grandchildren. The Kruegers have warmed many hearts with their quilt making in their family and beyond.

They did the chores on the farm side by side and now they labor together for charity. “No matter what they do it is together.” Brantmeier says, “She’s been next to him all her life and he’s been next to her.”

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