Henry (Dick) Richard Kraus
August 13, 2014Long time Valley Center resident Dick Kraus passed away peacefully in his home on Aug. 4, 2014. He was 89 and lived a very full life.
Born in Los Angeles in 1925, Dick joined the Navy at 18 and received his wings as a naval aviator just as the war was winding down. Although he did not see combat, he still enjoyed some exciting aviation adventures including ditching his Corsair in the Pacific Ocean half way between Catalina and Los Angeles. Aviation continued to be a passion for most of his life. He owned several small airplanes and was always happy to treat his friends to an aerial view of Valley Center and the surrounding area. He treated his sons to some exciting trips flying all the way down the Baja Peninsular to fishing camps in Cabo.
After the war, Dick attended USC School of Engineering on the GI bill and became a civil engineer. Later he also received his Masters from USC. He began his Civil Engineering career at Cal Trans and then spent 35 years working for Ralph M. Parsons Company working on many important and interesting projects. These included design work on the Hong Kong airport and March Air Force Base and design of drinking water and sewage facilities all around the world, including Bangladesh, Somalia, Peru, and Saudi Arabia. He also enjoyed a long-term assignment in Hawaii. One of his favorite assignments was a trip to the Pitcairn Islands where he met the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty and was able to spear lobsters right in the surf – enough lobsters to feed his entire crew!
After retiring, Dick enjoyed his time tending his avocado grove. He served on the Valley Center Planning Group, participated in Rotary, Valley Center Garden Club, and supported Jean's activities in the VC Republican Women's Club and the Light of the Valley Lutheran church.
Above all, his family was by far his greatest passion. He married his wife Jean in 1952 and they had 62 blissful years together. After Jean was diagnosed with dementia several years ago, he became her primary care giver, and continued his devoted care, feeding her three times a day right up to a few days before he died. He was an active father, Cub Scout leader, and spent lots of time with his family camping and fishing. He loved to spend time with his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife, Jean, four children Hank Kraus (60), Susan Hunt (59), Bill Kraus (57) and Tim Kraus (51), and 12 grandchildren.
Services will be held in October at a venue to be announced.