Howard E. Krueger, Owner of Krueger Funeral Home & N.Y.S. Licensed Funeral Director
Howard or "Howie" to most was the 4th child of Leona J. (Benedict) & the late Ewald P. Krueger. He was born on a cold winter night in 1960 at St. Mary's Hospital in Syracuse, New York. He grew up in the hamlet of Mattydale involved with the same activities as most kids of his era. Playing baseball & basketball, building model airplanes, exploring the neighboring woods that are now filled with apartment buildings, businesses and the like. Outside the Little league games and Boy Scout camping trips he grew up in surroundings much different from most children.
The family lived in, as well as owning and operating two very demanding "24/7" businesses. When he was four they purchased the Alma Motel, a fifteen-unit single story motel. The office was separated from the living room and the rest of the quarters by a partition with translucent Plexiglas wall and a swinging gate that curious customers often leaned over to see what the Krueger's were up to. This made for interesting memories, especially during mealtimes and holidays. All the kids would take turns answering the PBX. Which was a monstrosity of switches and lights that required an attendant to connect, dial and disconnect each outside call placed by a guest and a third trip if it was long distance so the operator could tell you what to charge the customer. Howard mastered the PBX at six years old and was renting rooms by the age of eight. Many other glamorous tasks were shared among the children including weeding the gardens, picking up cigarette butts, filling the Coke machine and getting ice for guests. Of course, any of the Kruegers could make a bed in nothing flat with French tucks that would pass the test of bouncing a quarter off the blanket.
The motel was only one of the service-oriented businesses they operated. It was located next door and on the same parcel as the Krueger Funeral Home which offered many unusual prospects of it's own. When the phone rang and brought news of a death call, everything stopped. Interrupted meals, birthday parties and holiday gatherings were commonplace. These little inconveniences were always taken in stride because the kids were brought up knowing that the little ripple it caused in our lives was nothing compared to the emotional strain that same event was to family we were called to serve.
The family was involved in the daily operation of the funeral home too. If they weren't helping with cleaning, setting up flowers, washing cars or tending the parking lot for calling hours, they were doing maintenance like mowing the lawn, gardening or painting. Howard was always underfoot and very comfortable around the funeral home. At the tender age of 5 he saw his father bring a body into the parlor to begin to set up for calling hours. Young Howard knelt down next to the stretcher, laid his head onto the dead man's chest, as if to listen for a heartbeat and with a serious tone he stood up and said, "I think he's dead, Dad!"
After graduating from North Syracuse High School in 1978, he attended Herkimer Co. Community College and Onondaga Community College to attain the required credits needed to enroll at Simmons School of Mortuary Science. As the class president and a Dean's list student he graduated from Simmons and passed the NYS Board Exam in 1983. He became the Licensed Manager of the family funeral home in Mattydale in 1986 and has been the principle director of the business ever since.
In 1998, following the completion of the new home for Krueger Funeral Home, he was honored by the Plank Road Chamber of Commerce as that year's "Business of the Year".
He is a member of the Onondaga County, New York State and the National Funeral Directors associations. He is a life member, past president & former Captain of the Mattydale Volunteer Fire Department. He is a past president and a charter member of the Jerome F. Melvin North Syracuse Education Foundation. He is also a past president of the Mattydale Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce and the Plank Road Chamber of Commerce and the Happy Hackers Golf League.
He has served as a Lector and a Eucharistic Minister at St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church in Mattydale. He sits on the board of directors of the Pitcher Hill Apartments and formerly of the North Area Meals on Wheels. He is also a member of the Third Ward Men's Club, the Bridgeport Rod and Gun Club and the Square Valley Trail Blazers snowmobile club.
Howard has two children. Kimberly, who graduated from Cicero North Syracuse High School, has married, lives in Mattydale and is currently attending school to pursue a career as a registered Nurse. Kenny is currently attending Cicero North Syracuse High School. He enjoys snowmobiling and jet skiing with his Dad and is looking forward to working on his project car (a '71 Chevelle) he got for his 16th birthday.