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June M. Kraus

July 18, 2018

June Miller Kraus, 92, died peacefully and with family nearby on July 18, 2018. To the surprise of no one, she was stubborn to the end, holding onto pieces of her legendary sense of humor even after dementia had robbed her memory.

She was born February 22, 1926, in Chicago. Her father, Max Miller, a Prohibition gangster, died when she was only two, and she and her mother Evelyn (Friedman) (Miller) Wachovsky, spent most of the next 36 years loving and protecting one another in a variety of Chicago homes and neighborhoods.

She had an outstanding academic career, graduating from Jones Commercial High School as salutatorian, after receiving her only grade below A when a typing teacher punished her for biting her fingernails. In her early professional career, she became an exceptional private secretary, helping noted insurance executive W. Clement Stone in the early years of his career, staffing an office for Allen Freeman, one of the few Republican alderman in early 1950s Chicago, and working alongside Roy Grinker, famous as the last psychoanalyst to train directly under Sigmund Freud.

In 1964, when her mother died suddenly, she received a condolence call from an old high school acquaintance, Richard “Dick” Kraus. Less than a year later, they were married and living in California while he finished his Ph.D. in English.

June and Dick built a rich and happy life for themselves in Granville, Ohio, where he taught at Denison University and both of them embraced a community of students and colleagues. She graduated from Denison herself and, after earning her masters at Ohio State, became a Licking County Schools special education teacher, pioneering instructional methods for children on the autistic spectrum.

Without quite trying, she developed a reputation as a “character,” a quality she retained even after she moved to Kendal at Granville, a retirement community/nursing home where she bedeviled and amused 12-years’-worth of skilled, attentive, and loving nurses and aides.

She loved leftovers, coupons, and the Chicago Cubs. More than that she loved her cats, the house she could never keep uncluttered, and any underdog who caught her attention. Most of all, she loved her friends, children, and husband, putting all of them before herself whether that meant insisting she be the last one to sit down for dinner or listening to worries, hopes, and stories over and over again.

She was a queen of the angry letter, managing to wrest refunds and apologies from corporations she felt had wronged her, but she could never be angry for long at any of the people she cared about. She had passionate opinions about politics and religion, but she set them aside any time she found herself talking to someone who saw the world from the other direction.

She had a gift for identifying a small tease and growing it into a loving and often lifelong connection. She “corrected” the accent of a native French-speaking friend, though she’d taken only a semester of the language herself. She called a dear friend by his given name when everyone else called him Jack. When a friend casually mentioned he disliked rutabaga, she pretended to be serving a rutabaga dinner years later. And everything, from a Cubs’ loss to her missing a step when no one else was near, was (jokingly) her husband’s fault.

Her infant son Michael predeceased her.  She is survived by her sons Joe and Ed, daughters-in-law Paula (Chaiken) and Amy, and grandchildren, Noah, Eli, Richie, Max, and Teddy. She is survived as well by the legions she taught, befriended, and made laugh. There will be a memorial reception celebrating her life at Kendal at Granville, 2158 Columbus Rd., Granville on Friday, July 20 at 2:30 P.M.. The family will sit shiva from 5-8 p.m. at 1255 Timber Grove, Shavertown, PA, Sunday July 22, and they invite all to share with them the memories she could not hold onto in her final years. Donations can be made in her memory to Denison University’s Richard Kraus Community and Young Scholar Award Program, Mental Health America of Licking County, or any place you think would have put a smile on her face.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.mcpeekhoekstra.com.


Donations may be made to:

Mental Health America of Licking County
65 Messimer Dr., Unit 3, Newark OH 43055

Richard Kraus Community and Young Scholar Award Program
Denison University ATTN: Julie Houpt , 100 W. College St.,, Granville OH 43023

Contribution of Choice


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