Obituary of Peter Alden Krueger
Peter Alden Krueger (84 years) passed away at his home in Pine Junction, Colorado on January 24, 2023. The life he lived contained more adventures that many of our own lives combined.
Pete was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Keith and Mary Krueger. Pete was their second of three children and he gained notoriety around his hometown of Greendale, Wisconsin as he grew up. He most likely held every job available in town as he made money to help support his mother and 2 sisters, Nancy and Beth, as he became “man of the house” early on. Pete graduated from Greendale High School in 1957. He worked a few grueling labor jobs before he decided to join the Marine Corps in 1959.
In the Marine Corps, he quickly demonstrated skills in leadership, enthusiasm, work ethic, and all-around likability as he climbed the ranks. On a whim, he decided to take the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) because he learned he could smoke during the test. This decision changed the course of his life. Others quickly discovered that he was meant to be a pilot. He began flying A-4 Skyhawks as part of Marine squadron VMA 223.
Pete was released from active duty in June of 1964. He traveled with friends to Australia and lived there for around 18 months. When the Marines entered Vietnam, he went back on active duty out of Chu Lai, South Vietnam. He spent 26 months in Vietnam and completed 640 missions. He was shot down in his A-4 over the South China Sea on March 15, 1967. He made a dramatic escape from his jet seconds before it exploded. He was swiftly rescued by a Jolly Green Giant helicopter by U.S. Air Force pararescuemen, earning him a Purple Heart. During his Marine Corps years, he earned more than 40 air medals flying O-1 Bird Dogs and A-4 Skyhawks, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Pete met the love of his life, Martha, during a Rest & Recuperation trip to Hawaii in 1968. Martha was a Pan Am flight attendant on a layover in Hawaii. They were set up by a mutual friend and had their first date under the banyan tree at The Beach Bar in Waikiki, Hawaii. Once Pete was released from active duty, he worked in Hawaii as a main stunt pilot (and one brief radio tower cameo) on the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! Soon after, he was hired as a pilot for Continental Airlines in October of 1969. On April 25, 1970, Pete and Marty were married in The Chapel at the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California.
Pete and Marty traveled the world, first spending time in Australia. Can you believe that Pete
helped build the Sydney Opera House? He got an Australian construction license and worked on flooring in the auditorium. They then moved on to New Zealand, where they met lifelong friends. Next, they moved to Newport Beach, California as Pete flew for Continental Airlines and worked as a local police officer. They later moved to a ranch in Littlerock, California where they raised chickens, pigs, horses, and so many dogs.
In October of 1978, Pete and Marty adopted a baby girl from Texas, Elizabeth (Beth) Ann. She ran the roost until February of 1982 when they adopted twin boys, Robert and Tom, also from Texas. Life on the ranch was a lot of work with these three new animals to raise. Pete accepted a Continental Airlines transfer to fly out of Denver and moved the family to Pine Junction, Colorado on July 3, 1983.
Pete flew all over the world with Continental Airlines until October of 1998, when he turned 60-years-old. His family rode with him in the cockpit on takeoff from Los Angeles and landing in Honolulu during his final commercial flight. Not one to be taken out of the air so easily, he flew for the Colorado Rockies and the Continental Flight Test program.
Through all of his traveling, he always looked forward to coming home to his family. Pete and Marty raised their three children in the mountains of Colorado. He attended every school event and sports game he could. He took the family on trips all over the world. Pete became involved in local organizations like the Bailey chapter of the VFW and a local Civil Air Patrol.
Pete was a terrific friend. He had a warm, welcoming smile and a wicked sense of humor. He made friends wherever he went and those friends will never forget him. His family has lost their cornerstone. He was a son, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, friend, and shining light.
Pete is preceded in death by his father, Keith Krueger, and his mother, Mary Krueger. Pete is survived by his wife, Marty; three children, Beth (Wagner,) Robert, and Tom; his grandson, Tanner; and his two sisters, Nancy (Murdock) and Beth (Caldwell.)
A Committal Service with Military Funeral Honors will take place on June 5, 2023 at Fort Logan National Cemetery. In addition, a Celebration of Life will take place after the ceremony - this location has yet to be determined. Details will be updated and shared with friends and family. Please reach out to the family if you would like updates. We welcome all friends and family can attend.