Phyl (Breen) Krueger, 91, passed away on May 3, 2022, due to complications following a stroke. Prior to a brief stay at Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, S.D., Phyl resided in her Sioux Falls home.
Phyllis Marilyn (Breen) Krueger was born on June 14, 1930, to William and Myrtle (Rolland) Breen at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. She was the last baby born in the "old" Sioux Valley (Sanford) Hospital that was used at that time for a nurses home. Phyl was baptized by her grandfather Lauritz Breen on July 20, 1930, in the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Hurley, S.D.
Phyl's father worked at the Hurley State Bank and when it closed during the depression, the family lived for a time with both sets of Phyl's grandparents on the Breen and Rolland sides of the family. Eventually the Breen family moved to Howard, S.D. This was during the time when the grasshoppers were so bad they ate a dress of Phyl's right off the clothesline. When she was five years old, her sister Shirley was born. Job opportunities for Phyl's dad would find the family on the move: Volin, S.D.; Ute, Iowa; and Yankton, S.D. It was when they were in Yankton that Phyl's brother Gerald was adopted into the family. The last move for the Breens was back to Hurley, S.D., when Phyl was in the eighth grade. She was confirmed in Hurley at Bethany Lutheran Church on July 1, 1945, and since she was the only confirmand in her class, had to answer all the questions asked by the pastor by herself. While in Hurley, Phyl played the pump organ for services, taught Bible School, delivered the paper and worked as a soda jerk in the drugstore.
Phyl attended her senior year of high school at Augustana Academy in Canton, S.D., graduating in 1948. It wasn't more than fifty miles away from Hurley, but it was a world apart for Phyl. Her greatest thrill was singing in the concert choir. Summers found Phyl working as a nurse's aid at Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton and detasseling corn in Bode, Iowa, where her grandparents lived.
Attending a Luther League Convention in Decorah, Iowa, on the Luther College campus influenced Phyl to attend college there. The fall of 1948 she boarded the train in Canton, S.D., with her trunk of belongings and headed off to college. Singing in the Luther Choir was one of the highlights of Phyl's college days. It was at Luther and during her freshman year that she met Harold Krueger ‘50, a junior. Following Phyl's sophomore year, Harry received a teaching position in Calmar, Iowa, so after two years at Luther and a two-year teaching certificate in hand, she left Luther with her soon-to-be-husband. Phyl and Harry were married on Aug. 20, 1950, in Hurley. In Calmar she was contracted to teach a 5th and 6th grade combination class for $2400.00. The couple remained in Calmar for two years. Teaching positions for Harry would then take them to Britt, Iowa, and Glencoe and St. Cloud, Minn., and eventually in 1965 to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Phyl and Harry lived directly across from the Augustana campus where they raised their four boys; David, Mark, Timothy and Thomas. Life for Phyl revolved around that of her husband, children and eventually her grand and great-grandchildren.
Loving education and wanting to finish her college degree that she had started at Luther and continued at St. Cloud State, Phyl began taking classes at Augustana and would graduate Cum Laude in 1974 with a B.A. Degree in Education. She was employed by the Sioux Falls School District for eighteen years beginning at Garfield Elementary and then Washington High School as a certified aide for special needs children. Phyl retired in 1992.
Faith and church was of utmost importance to Phyl. Prior to having limited vision due to macular degeneration, she was a very active member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls serving on various boards and committees, volunteering and singing in the church choir. She loved leading Bible studies and was an avid fan of Biblical history. Phyl had also been a 50-year member of PEO (St. Cloud, Minn., and Sioux Falls) and a volunteer with Avera hospice. Playing bridge, walking, reading, gathering with family and friends, traveling with Harry and entertaining his students were pastime favorites. Phyl and Harry enjoyed travels which took them around the world. She devoted her later years in life caring for Harry as his health declined. As her eyesight diminished, Phyl enjoyed listening to books on tape.
Phyl was preceded in death by her parents William (1980) and Myrtle (1990) and her husband Harry Krueger ‘50 (2018). Phyl is survived by her sister Shirley (Breen) Johnson ’57 (Kent Johnson ‘55) of River Falls, Wisconsin and brother Jerry (Joyce) Breen also of River Falls along with a large extended family.
Grateful for sharing her life are her four children, ten grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren: Dave (Donna) of Sioux Falls and their family; Jessica (Zach) Rutten - Noah, Izabel, Haley and Kiley (Sioux Falls); Aaron (Laura) - Anders, Jonas and Greta (Omaha, Neb.); James (Ang) - Teddy, Charlie and William (Sioux Falls); Andrew (Kelly) - Ruby and Isla (Sioux Falls); Mark (Sonja) and family all of Boise, Idaho; Kari (Mitch) Dame; Joel; Tim of Sioux Falls and his family; Meghan Vasgaard - Madelyn, Henry, Katherine and Abraham (Centerville, S.D.); Zach (Meghan) - Flannery, Harper, Willa, Lucy and Wendell (Sioux Falls); Tom (Nancy) of Sioux Falls and their family; Isaac (Alex) - Emory (Minnetonka, Minn.); Anna (Nick) Schmitt of Rochester, Minn.
Concluding her daily devotions Phyl would say, "What a promise, what a promise indeed!"
Phyl's memorial service was held at Our Saviors Lutheran Church on May 9th. Interment followed at Bethany Lutheran Cemetery, Hurley, S.D.
Phyl requested memorials be directed to the Rolland/Breen Memorial Scholarship Fund at Augustana University, 2001 S. Summit Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57197.