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Leroy Kreeger Obituary

Leroy Floyd Kreeger
Leroy Floyd Kreeger

September 28, 2011 - September 28, 2011
Born in Omaha, Nebraska
Resided in Salinas, CA
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Bert Leroy Floyd Kreeger, 94, long time resident of Salinas, passed away Sunday, September 25, 2011, in Salinas, surrounded by his loving family. He was born July 17, 1917, in Omaha, Nebraska. He joined his wife, Helen, in heaven on the day of their 74th wedding anniversary.

He was preceded in death by his wife Helen, of 72 years, three brothers, five sisters, and granddaughter, Janel.

Roy is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Beverly and Roger Patterson of Salinas; daughter and son-in-law, Pat and Bob Barnes of Sacramento; son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Kathy Kreeger of St. Petersburg, Florida; and daughter and son-in-law, Teri and Gordon Babbitt of Salinas; grandchildren Joleen, Robert Douglas, Kimberly and Benjamin; great-grandchildren, Marcelene, Jess, Garrett, Jennie, Chelsea, Aubrey-Lynne, Landen, Sydney Rose, Tyler, and Aidan; great-great grandchildren, Alexus, Lanae and Cayden. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews. He was also loved by several foster grandchildren: Eddie Yanez, Noel Voisin, Martha Ramirez, Jose Medriano, Santiago Gonzales, and Tony Gonzales.

Leroy was born at home, attended Ashland Park Grade School, and was in the same grade as Helen. He was the youngest of nine children.

When Roy was in the second grade his teacher kept him after school with his buddy because they had gone walking outside the schoolyard on their lunch break. They found some cigarette butts and smoked them. Their teacher used a ruler on their hands and that was the last time Roy smoked a cigarette. The first time Roy remembered going to church was when he was 16. His family did not attend church.

Roy and Helen lived about 1½ miles from each other. When Roy was five his dad put a hammer in his hand. The kids always helped his dad build houses on the weekends by pulling nails and cleaning up. When Roy was 15 he became a golf caddy at a Country Club that was about 2 miles from where he lived. One player, an insurance guy who liked him, gave Roy $1 for 18 holes when the fee was only 65 cents.

Helen was Roy's first date in the 8th grade. They went to a show (cost was a dime). He didn't remember anything about the show... They attended South High School in So. Omaha. Their paths didn't cross much. They didn't have the same classes in the school of 4, 000 students. In the beginning they used to meet for lunch in the auditorium to watch a movie. But then they went their separate ways. They each dated others but when they graduated they began to get back together again.

Roy was at the top of his graduating class in high school and a partial scholarship took him to Creighton University in Omaha.

At age 17 Roy attended a revival service at Mosher Memorial Church where Helen had attended since she was five. He sat in the back row so he could leave easily and ended up responding to an altar call. He wasn't aware of what was going on but the Lord changed his life at that time. Helen and Roy never did see each other at the service. Roy also stopped hanging out with his friends who would go to the taverns and sometimes stay out all Saturday night.

While attending Creighton University Roy also got a job working for Dole Packing Company as a secretary to the assistant sales manager. He quit the University after two years to marry Helen. Roy was 20 years old. They got married on September 25, 1937 with a small church wedding and no reception. The day of their wedding Roy and his best man went looking for Helen when she didn't show up to help decorate the church. They found her at the beauty parlor, delayed by getting a perm. After getting married they lived in a small house next to Roy's parents which was built by Roy's dad.

Roy and Helen saved their money and after 18 months purchased round trip bus tickets for Chicago where Roy wanted to take a six month Shorthand class. Helen's mom wasn't happy, but they assured her they would be back after the six months. Upon their arrival in Chicago they realized it would take two years instead of just six months to complete the class. They never moved back to Omaha.

When they first arrived in Chicago they attended a Church of God. They also attended a Methodist church where they enjoyed the Sunday School class. In 1940, they heard about a mission church from a lady at the Methodist church. They attended the mission church for two years. This is where they first heard the Grace message. After the church disbanded, they attended a Bible study in a house with 20-35 people, which eventually became a Grace Church.

During World War II Roy ended up dropping out of shorthand school as their money was running out, and again got a job as a secretary and eventually became a salesman for the owner of L. Gillarde Company, a produce brokerage firm in Chicago. Roy and Helen's first daughter, Beverly, was born in 1941. Helen went along with Roy on a business trip to Mexico to check out tomatoes 600 miles south of the border. On their return trip through Mexico the train ran out of food and water, besides hitting a bull which knocked the train off the tracks. Their second daughter, Pat, was born in 1947.

Roy graduated from Northwestern University in 1949 after seven years of taking night courses, many nights getting home at midnight and getting up at five to go to work. He felt the Lord directing him to attend Milwaukee Bible Institute in Wisconsin (which would later become Grace Bible College in Michigan) that school year and work at Gillarde's in the summer selling cantaloupe. During the summer of 1950, Charles Baker (the school President) asked Roy to teach Psychology which had been his major at Northwestern. Roy taught Psychology, English, History and Study Habits. In 1952 their son, Larry, was born.

In 1955 Roy quit teaching and moved to Salinas, California to represent Gillarde's and sell produce at the source. He bought his first Cadillac in California – he had the money and was jealous of Gillarde's car (he admired Gillarde's taste in cars in Chicago). Roy was also one of the first members of the Corral de Tierra Golf Club. After spending one lettuce season in El Centro away from his family in Salinas, he started his own produce brokerage company, besides deciding to become a real estate broker. Helen accompanied Roy to his real estate classes in San Jose and they both passed the test to became realtors. In 1957 Roy opened a realty office on North Main St. (aka Hwy 101) in Salinas.

The Kreeger family attended the First Presbyterian Church, then started their own Sunday School in Spreckels. Attendance grew to about 35. Adult & Children's classes were held at the Fire Hall.

At the same time, Roy helped start the House of Prayer in Prunedale with a few other people. Mr. Ramie donated the land and built the church. Mr. Savage (a chiropractor from Watsonville) named the church "House of Prayer," and subsequently named a church in Watsonville the same. Roy was the first pastor and approximately 65 people attended. Difficulty came after nine months when they wanted to create a constitution with by-laws and make it a Baptist assembly. Due to a conflict over water baptism, Roy left with his family and returned to Spreckels where they served for about five years.

In 1960 Roy was asked to return to the House of Prayer since the congregation was dwindling. Roy said he would return only if he could buy the property so he couldn't be "kicked out" again. In 1962 Roy bought the 35 acre property from Mr. Ramie for $22, 000 and later sold all but 6½ acres which was given to the church. Roy preached for about five years. Ken Peebles was then called to be the part-time Pastor. After Pastor Peebles left the church, Roy resumed being the pastor for a couple more years until the next pastor, Craig MacDonald, was called. Eventually the church's name was changed to "Grace Community Church." Despite Roy's early pastoral involvement at Grace Community Church, he never served as a church board member.

During this same time period, the owners of Hap's Drive-In would come in weekly to Roy's real estate office and stay an hour or two wanting to sell. They lived in Hayward, were losing money and didn't know that their manager was stealing from them. Roy tried for 15 months to sell Hap's Drive-In which was the only hamburger joint along that portion of Hwy 101 in Salinas. After getting tired of being pestered and seeing opportunity, Roy finally bought it in 1961 and changed the name to Roy's Drive-In.

1962 was quite the year for Roy. At the age of 45, not only did his 21-year-old daughter, Beverly, marry Roger Patterson, but at the wedding his wife, Helen, walked down the aisle pregnant with their fourth child, Teri. Roy said that having Teri so late in life was a wonderful 25th anniversary present.

During the 1960's Roy owned and managed a variety of different properties including five different drive-ins in Salinas, Watsonville and Santa Cruz, besides apartments, a gas station and even an auto-body shop. In 1974 Roy sold Roy's Drive-In on North Main St. to his son-in-law, Roger Patterson. Roy's Drive-In finally closed in 2004.

Roy and Helen enjoyed traveling all over the world. They traveled around the country several times in their motorhome, taking various family members with them each time. They were members of Thousand Trails and enjoyed camping near Hollister. They took their children and spouses to Israel, Hawaii, and on a cruise in the Caribbean.

Roy loved fishing. Roy was known for scouting out the lakes upon arrival and then beating others to the best fishing spots the next morning. It was a thrill for Roy when his two grandsons took him fishing at a local lake last year.

Roy was a go-getter, known to take charge and get his hands dirty. Besides fishing, his hobbies included building things, panning for gold, and metal detecting. While the church was building its new sanctuary, Roy slept in his motor home in the church parking lot to guard the lumber.

During their final years, Roy and Helen lived with their eldest daughter and son-in-law in Salinas. They enjoyed fellowship and lunches with seniors at the Salvation Army and St. Ansgars Lutheran Church.

Roy's final week of life on this earth was spent at a local hospital and care facility with family members continually at his side. We are happy that he is in heaven with his Lord and Savior and loved ones who have passed on before. We do not have to grieve as those without hope, because we know that one day we will all be reunited with him in heaven.

Memorial Service: 11:15 a.m. Sunday, October 2, at Grace Community Church, 750 Paradise Road, Prunedale, CA 93907
Memorials: Donations in his name may be made to Grace Community Church, 750 Paradise Road, Prunedale, CA 93907





Memorial Service
Grace Community Church
750 Paradise Road
Salinas, CA US 93907
Sunday, October 2, 2011
11:15 AM