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Robert Edward Kreimes, of Sandusky, OH, passed away peacefully on December 5, 2023 at the age of 98. Born on August 21, 1925 to George and Ella (Dolch) Kreimes, Bob grew up during the great depression with his seven siblings in a small house on Perry Street in Sandusky, Ohio. Bob was kind, generous, and hard-working. He was greatly loved by his family and respected by those who knew him.
At 17 years old, Bob left high school and joined the Navy in July 1943. He served on the battleship USS California as a gunner on a 20 mm anti-aircraft gun. He survived a kamikaze plane attack which killed 44 of his shipmates and then fought in one of the most famous sea battles of WWII, the battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. After the war ended, the ship went on a goodwill tour to play 14 baseball games at exotic locations in Asia and Africa, and Bob “Lefty” Kreimes was one of the pitchers for the USS California Bears team.
Bob went back to high school and graduated from Sandusky High School in 1947. He then went to work for the Sandusky Water Department before becoming a partner in TruWall Construction. In 1970, Bob started his own company, the Bob Kreimes Construction Company with his wife, Toni. He was honored as Boss of the Year by the Jaycees in 1977 and continued to do work into his 90s.
Bob always excelled in sports. After high school, he played for the Jax Bar softball team, once pitching a no-hitter. Bob played half-back on the semi-pro football team, the Maroons, in the early 1950s. He continued to be active in city sports, including volleyball and golf leagues. He took over the YMCA baseball group and formed the Senior High School league that led to the first Sandusky High School team in the Buckeye Conference.
After the war, Bob became involved in civic activities. In 1949, he organized a boxing show, one of two events he held, to raise money for Betty Rinderle efforts for children with developmental disabilities. He volunteered with the Ohio Veterans Home Alzheimer Unit, was a volunteer member of the Ohio Veterans Home Advisory Board, and he received the Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award. In 2002, he led the establishment, fundraising and construction of the World War II Veteran's Memorial located in Sandusky's Veterans Park. In 2006, Governor Taft inducted Bob into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, a select honor given to outstanding Ohio veterans in recognition of their community contributions.
Active in the Sandusky Elks, Bob was a member of the House Committee from 1969-1973 and Chairman of the Sports and Activities Board for many years. He was the main organizer of the Elks Senior Baseball League and worked to create means to finance the program, including starting the annual Marsh Squirrel dinners. In addition to continuing the dinners, over several decades Bob assisted with the Elks Christmas party for exceptional children, the Boy Scout pancake breakfast, and the fishing derby. He was honored as Elk of the Year in 1975, inducted into the Elk Hall of Fame in 2005, and was Volunteer of the Year for 2006/2007. He was also a member of the AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Eagles and Sandusky Yacht Club.
Bob married Toni Elfers from Kelley’s Island in April 1950. They, along with their two children, spent many happy years living on Cedar Point Road where Bob was always the neighbor you could count on for help. Later in life, Bob and Toni would spend winters in Port St. Lucie, FL. Bob was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Bob and Toni treasured their time spent with many good friends over the years.
Bob is survived by his loving wife of over 73 years, Joan “Toni” Elfers Kreimes; their son, Robert Walter and daughter-in-law, Michelle Everett; their daughter, Kimberly Joan and son-in-law, David Gonzales; three grandchildren and their spouses, Kristin (Elliott) Maurice, Joshua (Mandy) Kreimes, Lea (Tom) Black; three great-grandchildren, Kaylee Kreimes, Ivy Black and James Black; a brother, George “Prune” Kreimes; a sister-in-law, Charlene Kreimes; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters, Dorothy Martin, Evelyn (Bob) Gouker, Dolores “Lori” (George "Hank") Dunlap and Ruth (George) Rhonehouse; two brothers, Donald (Evelyn) and Wayne Kreimes; and his sister-in-law, Olive Kreimes. Bob also appreciated being part of the large Elfers extended family.
A funeral mass will be held at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church (510 Columbus Ave, Sandusky) on Saturday, December 16 at 10:30 am, followed by a burial with Military Honors at noon at the Ohio Veteran’s Home (3416 Columbus Ave, Sandusky) and a luncheon reception from 12:30-3:00 pm at the Sandusky Elks Club (120 E Adams, Sandusky).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Humane Society of Erie County in remembrance of Bob and the many cats and dogs he cherished throughout his life.
Condolences may be shared with the family at pfeilfuneralhome.com.
Humane Society of Erie County
1911 Superior Street, Sandusky OH 44870