Gordon Harvey Kritzer, 87

Gordon Harvey Kritzer, a Korean War Veteran, passed away peacefully at home on January 26, 2021 at the age of 87. His family is so grateful that he was able to be home thanks to hospice and home care who assisted in caring for him.

Gordon was born on May 3, 1933 to Harvey and Esther (Krueger) Kritzer of Waterville, Minnesota. He graduated from Waterville High School in 1951 before entering the Navy for 4 years. He was honorably discharged in October of 1955. He was stationed onboard the USS Ashtabula AO-51, was very proud of his years serving our country, and became a lifetime member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

In December 1955 he went to Babbitt, MN and worked at Reserve Mining Company as a diesel mechanic for the next 31 years. In 1956 he married his high school sweetheart, Harriet Hebl at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waterville. They lived in Babbitt for 44 years and raised their two daughters there. Since he was not able to travel when growing up, he was determined to save every year to take his family on camping trips throughout the United States. Gordon also enjoyed gardening, fishing, polka music, western movies, lending a helping hand to those who needed it and daily life with Harriet and his daughters.

He had a sense of humor and his favorite words when his daughters or grandsons came to visit were, “I’ve got a job for you!”. They then would learn how to repair anything and everything, how to clean a fish (and often received a detailed review each year), and discovered tips and tricks for gardening. Most important, he taught them to “just keep chugging away” when a task was tough.

Gordon and Harriet also owned and operated North-Wind Ice which provided wholesale cubes and blocks to businesses in northern Minnesota. He was known as “Gordy The Bus Driver” for over 40 years and treated each one of the students who rode his bus with respect and they often had conversations about their homework, how their test went that day, and family activities. Gordon was a basketball referee for high school and college games throughout the state for many years. He was a board member of the Babbitt Steelworkers Credit Union and also on the Babbitt School Board. He was a founding member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and served as an elder. In 1999, the couple moved to Elysian, Minnesota where they have since resided and he and his wife are members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Waterville.

Gordon is survived by his wife, Harriet; his daughter Kimberly Kritzer of Edina; grandsons, Nathan Helstrom of Chanhassen, Derek (Sarah) Helstrom of Chaska, Joseph (Heidi) Klegstad of Lakeville; great-grandchildren, Mallory and Roy Klegstad; and brother Marlin (Pat) Kritzer of Waseca. He was preceded in death by his parents; and one daughter, Peggy Klegstad.

A public viewing without family present will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at the Waterville Chapel of Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services. Graveside services for family and close friends will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2020 at Sakatah Cemetery in Waterville. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. Dennis Funeral & Cremation Services in Waterville is handling arrangements.

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