By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MAINEVILLE - Fighting fires was not just a career but a passion for retired District 5 Chief Harry L. Kroeger.
"It's a shame everyone can't love their work as much as I do," he often said.
He also loved to regale friends and acquaintances with anecdotes from his 29 years with the Cincinnati Fire Department.
Mr. Kroeger, 76, died Saturday of a heart attack at his home in Maineville.
A native of Lower Price Hill, he grew up there with two brothers and seven sisters. He worked for the Post Office while attending Elder High School. After graduating in 1945, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent the final months of World War II in American-occupied Tsingtao, China.
Mr. Kroeger returned to the Post Office after his honorable discharge. He followed a brother into the Fire Department in 1954, starting out with Engine Company 48 in Carthage and later being assigned to heavy rescue Squad 52 downtown. He and others took retirement in 1983 when the department cut payroll.
He was pleased that two of his sons followed his career path. Mike of Green Township is an assistant chief, and Paul of North Bend is a firefighter with Ladder Company 20.
During retirement, Mr. Kroeger and Marge, his wife of 56 years, traveled widely.
He was a member of: St. Philip the Apostle Church in Morrow; Firefighters Local 48; Cincinnati Firefighters Holy Name Society; and the Retired Firefighters Association.
In addition to his wife and sons Mike and Paul, survivors include: sons Dan of White Oak, and Steve of Milford; daughters Kathy Fries of Wayne, Mich., and Peggy Bollinger of Milford; sisters Kit Scholle of West Harrison, Ind., Mary Engel of Little Rock, Ark., Joan Buede of Lexington and Terry Benke, Rita Poitras, Irma Hornback and Carol McIver, all of Florida; a brother, Paul of Cleves; and 17 grandchildren.
A memorial Mass is 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Philip the Apostle Church, 944 E. U.S. 22.
Memorials: St. Philip the Apostle Building Fund, 944 E. U.S. 22, Morrow 45152 or the American Cancer Society, 11117 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati 45242-1817.
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