Donald Kraus

Donald Raymond Kraus was born March 29, 1947, in Detroit Lakes, Minn., to Darwin and Verona Kraus.
Don graduated in the class of 1965 in Frazee and went on to college at North Dakota State University where he graduated with a BS degree in civil engineering. Don later landed a job in 1970 as highway design engineer for the South Dakota Highway Department on Interstate 90 construction projects near Chamberlain, S.D., that included the 2000’ bridge across the Missouri River.  
It was where he met and swept the feet off of Karen Christensen. She worked as a cute little nurse in Chamberlain and grew up on a family farm/ranch just north of Reliance, S.D. Little did Don know, he would be a free farm/ranch hand for the rest of his life!
She picked out her own diamond ring on his budget and they later married May 25, 1974. Who knew they would last just five days short of their 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty amazing years of annoying the crap out of each other!
They then moved to Pierre, S.D., from 1974-84.  They produced three flipping awesome children together—Brian, Lori and Jeff—while living in Pierre.  
While in Pierre Don worked as an aviation planner/construction programmer with the South Dakota Division of Aeronautics, working with all 75 public approved airports. He designed, planned and programmed for state and Federal Aviation Administration funding, including the airport in Custer S.D., where he landed a job in 1984 as area engineer.
Don was responsible for construction and maintenance of over 500 miles of South Dakota highways, engineering staff and five maintenance shops in the southwest corner of South Dakota.  Don’s favorite sayings were “Everybody’s job is important, Just do it and you will be successful!” “Hard work and good luck seem to go together.”  
Don enjoyed retirement for over 20 years after retiring in 2004. While retired, he enjoyed traveling, helping his son, Brian, at his ranch in Reliance and Vivian, and volunteering around Custer.
Don’s love for helping others was his passion in life. He always kept busy with Outlaw Ranch, Rotary, Southern Hills Rural Water System and Custer Storehouse. Don was a very proud, dedicated Grandpa to Emery Kraus, Sylvan and Canyon Svoboda and Clara Kraus.
In the presence of family, Don Kraus concluded a life well lived May 20, 2024 in the gentle, amazing care at Monument hospital in Custer.
After almost five years of fighting metastatic cancer, the treatments, anxiety, pain and occasional moments of hope, it came down to the brutal truth that his body could no longer carry on. He was 77.
The family sends a heartfelt thanks to all the doctors, nurses and staff at Monument Health in Custer and Rapid City, S.D., for the absolute best care he could have had.
He was preceded in life by his parents, Darwin and Verona Kraus; and his in-laws, John and Ruth Christensen.
Don is survived by his loving wife, Karen Kraus; his children, Brian “Butch” Kraus of Reliance,  Lori Kraus-Svoboda of  Custer, and Jeff “Bullet” Kraus of Corpus Christi, Texas; special acquired daughter, Hallie Webster of Custer; sister, Marilyn Golisch of San Diego Calif.; four beautiful grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Don leaves a legacy of having a positive attitude with a smile on his face! We will continue to laugh and smile the way you showed us how. We love you more…
Memorials in Don’s name can be made to benefit Outlaw Ranch, Spark Kids CLF, Custer Storehouse and the Custer Senior Center; 12249 Aspen Valley Rd, Custer SD 57730.
Funeral Services are at 2 p.m. Friday, May 31, at Custer Lutheran Fellowship with a light luncheon to follow. Celebration of Life will be held at Rocky Knolls Golf Course at 4:30 p.m.
Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Custer.


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