Robert Francis Kraft passed away on June 29, 2021.
He was born on Christmas Day on December 25, 1930 in Hazel Crest, Illinois.
Mr. Kraft has a history of consistency, which he considered the most important part of his character. He has often argued this point! Other than that, he was always kind to people, helpful to those in need of help, forgiving all the peccadilloes of his son and wife. Patient to the excess, he thought long and hard about making decisions and launching projects. Firm in his belief in a moral life, he was very reluctant to condemn anyone who did not have the same moral code. He gave money to everyone who knocked on the door, he helped friends build porches, fix car engines, and fix anything broken. As an example, he had a friend, Ted, a well-known Indianapolis artist photographer, who had advanced multiple sclerosis. Since this man’s father was on his deathbed, he wanted to take one last photo of his father, but his muscles did not allow him to use his cameras. Mr. Kraft surreptitiously observed the movements Ted could make, then spent hours rummaging through his mysterious garbage drawers in the garage, subsequently inventing a mechanism which he attached to our friend’s wheelchair. Ted was then able to take this darling photo and was very grateful.
Mr. Kraft enjoyed being around children of all ages. So he helped with Webelos, taught math to elementary and high school students, and coached Little League baseball teams for several years, emphasizing sportsmanship and team building, not only victory. He kept complete records so that each player had exactly the same playing time, regardless of that player’s skill. (Ignore parental protests!)
He was a member of the Indiana section of the American Society of Lubrication Engineers (2 years as president), led the WS Blatchley Nature Study Club for a year or two, and was one of the 7 founders of the Hamilton County Theater Guild in 1965. He recruited teenage students to help him build sets that actually stood out, played in a few plays (still a non-talking role!). One of these comrades is still a dear friend today.
He was born on Christmas Day 1930, in the bedroom of their home in Hazel Crest, Ill., While his mother was making Christmas dinner for her family and friends. Soon after, the family moved to Gary, where he attended Lew Wallace Elementary School in Gary until grade five. They moved to Merrillville where he was educated from grades 5 to 12. He played basketball, football and baseball for Merrillville High School, then attended the University of Nebraska on a full basketball scholarship in 1949. After a semester he decided to return to Indiana and finished. his studies at Hanover College, where he played football. and sometimes stayed awake in class. He majored in PE and mathematics, graduating in 1954.
Mr. Kraft was in the United States Army, primarily in Alaska, from 1954 to 1956, when he married Mary Ellen Harkins. He then enrolled at Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland to take advanced engineering courses, while working for the Cleveland Worm and Gear Company and the Farval Corporation. After moving to Noblesville in 1956, “the team” produced three fantastic sons, Ned, Steve and Tim, who now live in California and Georgia. All three are graduates of Noblesville High School. Ned graduated from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Steve attended Purdue University, and Tim attended Indiana University. Mr. Kraft, as a loving father, was gentle… an educator, not a punisher.
He was predeceased by brothers Richard (1928) and Carl (1935). Both were engineers and lived most of their lives in Illinois. He loved his 11 nieces and nephews very much.
After moving to Madison in 2006, he supported the Jefferson County History Center, Historic Madison Inc., Madison Music Movement, Madison Arts Alliance, Jefferson County Community Foundation and many national charities.
The family will be hosting a Celebration of their Life on Sunday, September 19, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Overlook Room at the Forest Park Inn, 701 Cicero Rd, Noblesville, Ind. 46060.
Memorial donations can be made to: For the Little Ones Fund, an endowment created by Bob and Mary to benefit the Madison Consolidated Schools Kindergarten program.
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