UPDATE: Funeral set for Prescott police chief
Funeral services have been announced for Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke, who died Saturday, Aug. 5 at Regions Hospital after battling cancer.
According to his obituary listed on the O'Connell-Benedict Funeral Home website (formerly Hill Funeral Home), funeral services for Krutke will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 at Prescott High School (1010 Dexter St., Prescott). Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. at the high school. A burial with full military honors will take place at a later date at Jacksonville National Cemetery in Jacksonville, Fla.
Krutke was born Jan. 2, 1960 in Daytona, Fla. He eventually moved with his family to Sheboygan, wis., where he graduated in 1978 from North High School. His obituary states that he enlisted and served in the United States Army, and later enlisted and served in the United States Marine Corps. He was wounded in combat operations while deployed in Iraq, earning him a Purple Heart. He served in active duty and the reserves for more than 30 years.
After earning a bachelor's degree in criminal justice at St. Cloud State University, Krutke worked in law enforcement for the next 30 years across Minnesota and Wisconsin. He served in the Prescott Police Department for more than 17 years, had been Prescott's police chief since Jan. 13, 2014.
His obituary speaks to his life of radio controlled airplanes, snowmobiling, boating and riding and building Harley Davidson motorcycles.
"Much of Gary's life was dedicated to serving his country, and the community in which he lived. His service to others spoke volumes to his character. Gary was a strong man with a soft heart. His police officers will remember him as an honorable and patriotic leader. Those in the community will remember him as a firm, yet fair, man. He will be missed by family and friends alike," the obituary states.
Krutke is survived by his fiancée Tanya Keenan; his children, Joe Krutke, and Brittany Krutke; his granddaughter, Elizabeth Krutke; his beloved dog, Meeka; and many other family and friends.
The family asks memorial contributions be made in lieu of sending flowers to the Gary Krutke K9 Memorial Fund, where "Gary's vision as Chief can still benefit the Prescott Police Dept."
The Prescott Police Department announced Krutke's death on its Facebook page.
"Our department mourns his loss along with family, friends and Prescott community," the post reads.
Other law enforcement agencies also took to social media to express their grief.
Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove said on Facebook, "our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Chief Krutke and the Prescott Police Department."
The Pierce County Peace Officers Benevolent Association said Krutke "loved every moment" of his service to the Prescott community.
"Gary, you will never be forgotten as you will be in our past, present and future," the association wrote in a Facebook post. "The fight is now over my friend, we will take it from here."
Prescott Mayor David Hovel said he knew Krutke since he began his service in the city. He remembered the chief as a straight shooter who "got along with pretty much everyone."
Hovel also praised Krutke's hand-on approach to the chief's role. He got out and connected with the community, the mayor said.
"He wasn't one of the guys that just sat in the office," he said.
Prescott police officer Rob Funk worked alongside Krutke for nearly 16 years. He called his late chief a role model and a beloved presence in the community.
"People knew they could go to him and talk to him about anything," Funk said.
Working with Krutke, he said, revealed the man possessed a unique sense about people.
"He could pick up right away what needed to be done," Funk said. "That's invaluable as a police officer.
Reporters Mike Longaecker and Matthew Lambert contributed to this report.