Merrill police officer's widow shares his story 60 years after his death
MERRILL (WAOW) -
A fallen Merrill police man is being honored sixty years after he died. Captain Elmer Krueger is the only Merrill officer to die in the line of duty.
"I liked his looks. He was tall and handsome," said Krueger's widow, Lenore Ehlert. "We met at a dance. He wasn't the best dancer but he improved in later years."
Krueger married Lenore in 1937. Soon after that, Krueger started working with the Merrill Police Department -- rising to the rank of captain and making about $110 a month.
"Good husband, good father and he enjoyed his work," said Lenore.
Fourteen years later, something Lenore could never have imagined happened. She and her husband were at a dance at the Lincoln School. She said a man started acting suspicious, peeking in through the windows -- so her husband went to check it out
"Of course they came up and called Elmer and he went out and talked to him and told him to go away," said Lenore. "As they were walking from the school, the jail was right across the way, he [the suspect] pulled out this .22 and fired these shots at him. They came and got me and said we have to go and I said, well what happened? And they said well, Elmer was shot. And my legs just buckled under me."
Krueger was taken to Holy Cross Hospital, which is now Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center.
"His stomach had a little hole right here and I thought, well it doesn't look too bad but it's the inside," said Lenore.
Despite the efforts of doctors there, he died one week later.
"He's been the only Merrill officer killed in the line of duty in all these years and again, sixty years ago and it hasn't happened since and we just hope and pray it doesn't happen again," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff.
On Memorial Day in 2010, a monument was put up in his name -- next to the new Lincoln County jail. And on the anniversary of his death -- a new wreath -- honoring the man many will always remember.
"Almost every day, yeah," said Lenore. "You don't forget."
Krueger is also survived by his two children, Charles and Sally. Lenore said they have five grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren, as their family line lives on.