Clysta Vea Kruger, 85, longtime resident of Hawthorne, died on Feb. 7, 2015 at Mt. Grant Hospital. Clysta was born on Oct. 31, 1929 in Custer County, Okla. to Francis and Hazel Cordes. She moved to California during the Depression, when the Dust Bowl was driving many farmers in the mid-west to move their families in order to find any work possible. Her family worked as migrant fruit pickers in the Fresno area for several years before moving to Fallon, Nev. She often said that her early life in California was like the Joad family in the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
Clysta’s family moved to Hawthorne in 1943, where she started her freshman year in high school as the first class to attend the new green high school on A Street. During World War II, Clysta was one of the original hostesses at the USO in Hawthorne along with Norma Harrington, Jean Thyne and Ruby Hume. She was a member of the Mount Grant Chapter Order of Eastern Star 24, receiving her 50-year pin this year. Clysta was also a long time member of the B.P.O. Does Drove 35, until they disbanded, when Clysta joined Elks Lodge 1704 in Hawthorne. Clysta was an avid seamstress, painter and loved to travel. She and her husband, Hank, would visit Arizona, South Dakota and Clysta’s favorite, New Orleans. They also drove their camper to Alaska one summer and caravanned to Mexico with several friends from Hawthorne.
Her husband, Henry in August of 2001, a sister, Cordelia Mae Cordes, who died in infancy and her brother, James H. Cordes, preceded Clysta Kruger in death. Two daughters survive her: Karen Colbert (Robert), of Hawthorne and Linda Bitz of Reedsport, Ore.; stepsons: John Kruger (Sheila) of Belleville, Ill. and Jerry Kruger (Judy) of Yerington as well as ten grandchildren and several great great grandchildren.
Funeral services were held on Friday, Feb. 13 at Gunter’s Funeral Home and burial followed at the Hawthorne Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Gunter’s Funeral Home, Hawthorne.