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William (Bill) Frederick Kracht, Jr.
Jan. 20, 1927~Oct. 12, 2017
Bill was born Jan. 20, 1927, to William and Iva Kracht near Meeker, Colo. He attended the Coal Creek School and Little Beaver School and lived on the family ranch up Little Beaver with his parents and younger brother Bob Kracht. He grew up during the Great Depression when times were tough and it made people tougher. They moved from the family ranch temporarily, and tried their hand at gold prospecting in the mountains near Fortification Creek and lived off the land in a tent. They were able to make enough at prospecting to return to ranching later that summer.
Bill began working as a ranch hand at various local ranches including Guy Steeley, Pothole Ranch near Graystone, Raleys and the Bob LaGrange ranch. He then worked for Rio Blanco County on the road and bridge crew until he retired in 1992. The people on the Little Beaver route always knew that the road would be plowed, no matter what the conditions, when Bill was on the job. He took great pride in his work, and was well known for being the best blade operator around. He thought of many of his co-workers as family and treasured their friendship over the years.
He married his sweetheart Ruth May Bivens on May 24, 1953, and they were married until her passing on June 27, 2004. They had three children: Linda, Bill and Jolene
Bill was a hunting guide for many years, and enjoyed sharing the outdoors with others who were not fortunate enough to live in God’s country. He had lifelong hunting friends from all over the country. They relied on his expertise and knowledge, but more importantly they valued his enduring friendship. He was happiest in the mountains, spending just about every waking moment hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling and just being outside. You could often see him heading out early in the morning for another unknown adventure with his loyal dog or family and friends. One of his favorite pastimes later in life was accompanying his good friend Ron Hilkey along on trips on the snow-cat.
Bill was known for his colorful descriptive language and his own brand of humor, accentuated by his twinkling eyes. If his eyes weren’t twinkling, you knew he was serious. He had a practical way of mentoring that was both secure and firm, but yet quite entertaining. He had a great sense of humor and was quite the practical jokester.
A highlight of his life after retirement was going out on his 4-wheeler. He explored more land bit by bit and was able to recall specific details of every trail. He knew all the animals and all the geological formations. In his later years, he was able to play the local historian and take friends and locals on tours to show them old homesteads and parts of the country that they might otherwise have never seen.
He had a way with animals, both wild and domestic. He trained horses when he was younger and he always had a faithful dog. Dogs would seem to come out of the woodwork and plant themselves next to him. He’d talk to them and tease them, and the dogs loved him entirely. He loved to watch the wildlife, and he was astutely observant in their habits. The wildlife department scientists would have been wise to consult with him.
Bill was preceded in death by his father William F. Kracht, mother Iva G. Kracht, wife Ruth M. Kracht, grandson Brandan Kracht and granddaughter Martha Uncapher. He is survived by his daughter, Linda Kracht of Riverton, Wyo., grandchildren Wes Uncapher, Joe Pyatt and Kammi McLendon; son Bill Kracht (Haley) of Meeker, grandsons Steven Kracht and Ayron (Melody) Kracht; and Jolene Teeters (Marc) of Stanwood, Wash., and granddaughters Lela Teeters and Katherine Teeters. Bill is also survived by seven great-grandchildren and his beloved dog Jetta.
Memorial will be Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, at 4 p.m. at the 4-H building, Meeker, Colo.