OUR DEAR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE
Family, friends, and residents mourn the passing of long-time Floral Park resident, and Village employee James Krug who died on March 17, 2007. Jim is survived by his wife Karen, sister Marilyn, son James and daughter-in-law Joan and their six children and daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Craig.
Jim Krug was a man of many talents, interests and loves. Jim was born in 1938 in the very same house built by his father in which he lived the majority of his life. His formative years at Our Lady of Victory School played a major role in Jim’s life. During his grammar school days and later in high school, Jim played basketball at the Recreation Center, which would later fall under his auspices as the Superintendent of Recreation.
Jim’s family ran a concrete/masonry business which poured the foundation for Our Lady of Victory Church and constructed the marble for the altar.
After graduation from Our Lady of Victory, Jim went on to become a legendary basketball star at Sewanhaka High School. On a basketball scholarship, Jim excelled in the back court at the University of New Hampshire at Plymouth. This foundation and great love for the game were the genesis for the next 30 years of Jim’s life.
Decorating Jim’s office in the Shelter House at the Floral Park Recreation Center were dozens of pictures spanning his high school and college basketball careers. Although Jim continued to play semi-pro basketball after his graduation from college, he felt a special calling to work in education. It was Jim’s ability to communicate and connect with the youth that led him to wonderful teaching and coaching careers at Levittown Division Avenue High School. Until his retirement in 1998, Jim was a physical education teacher, health teacher, varsity basketball coach and tennis coach.
During his tenure at Division Avenue High School, he was so admired by the students that their yearbook was dedicated to him in his retirement year. His love for teaching, coaching and athletics formed strong bonds and nurtured many generations of young men and women in both Levittown and Floral Park.
Jim was a professional in every sense of the word. He could often be seen during the hot summer months working with not only adult and youth residents on their tennis skills, but also with grandson Joey on building a strong foundation in the game he truly loved. It is this special affinity for education and children that has endeared him to old and young alike.
However, long before Jim started working at Division Avenue High School or for the Village of Floral Park, he met a special young lady through a blind date set up by his sister and Karen’s mother who worked together. This bond was so special that Jim and Karen married in December 1969. They moved to Dover, New Hampshire where Jim both taught and coached. Upon returning to his West Hitchcock Street residence, Jim moved on to the Levittown School District. He later earned a Master’s Degree in Health Education from Hofstra University.
The Village of Floral Park was very fortunate that Jim Krug was able to lend his talents, energy and vision to the Floral Park Recreation Department. While still teaching, Jim began his village career as the Assistant Pool Director. Within the next few years, Jim moved over to the playground as the Superintendent of Recreation, where he was the founding father of the diverse and popular summer programs
for adults and youth that are currently in place today. Under Jim’s direction, in 1983, the now extremely popular youth sports camps were created.
Jim’s tenure as Superintendent also included the expansion of the adult volleyball program and the re-institution of the night time adult basketball program. Back in the early 1960’s, Jim and several teams of resident hoopsters participated on a single east-west basketball court at the park. Recognizing the need for improved playing conditions for both young and older basketball players, Jim was responsible for the creation of the current two court set up and the additional multi-purpose courts at the playground.
However, Jim was more than a creator of programs in the village. Along with a dedicated staff that he hired and trained year round,
Jim placed a heavy emphasis on the beautification and maintenance of the seven acres of this recreational site. In the spring time, Jim greatly enjoyed working on the field in preparation for the youth and adult baseball and softball seasons. When rainy conditions struck the seven baseball diamonds, little league managers and coaches could always see Jim on a tractor, raking the fields and making every attempt to ready them for that next “big” game. Prior to the installation of the current underground irrigation/sprinkler system, Jim made every attempt to bring water to the fields so the grass would not turn brown. One very dry summer, Jim suffered a debilitating back injury in his effort to water Field #2 via a fire hose. This facility will always have roots to Jim’s tenure as superintendent.
Later, an outstanding athlete with both speed and excellent hand-eye coordination, Jim turned his desire to excel in sports to the game of tennis. Both Jim and Karen enjoyed journeying to Flushing Meadows during the last weeks of summer to enjoy play at the U.S. Open.
Jim was a ranked USTA player, and he has won more various age category single championships than any other tennis player in the community. Jim brought this love of the game to all village residents in many ways. He created a tennis ladder, at one time populated with five divisions of play and serving more than 150 village residents.
Jim was also the founder of summer tennis lessons for adults and youth. An estimated 2,000 adults and youngsters have passed through these programs that Jim created 25 years ago. A lasting tribute to Jim’s foresight is the three har-tru tennis courts at the Floral Park Recreation Center. Jim, realizing that this surface was a more conducive learning environment for youth, also had the welfare of the older player in mind when he recommended this type of court to the village board. The new courts were installed seven years ago, and older and younger players alike have been thankful to Jim ever since.
As Superintendent of Recreation, Jim became more than a boss to many of the staff. He became a close friend, a brother, a mentor and even a father figure. Last year, Jim was recognized at a village board meeting for 25 years of dedicated service to the community.
During the past several years, Jim and Karen have enjoyed seeing their son James and his wife Joan raise their six grandchildren, Joseph, Anna, Maria, Madeline, James and John. This summer, Jim and Karen were beaming at the wedding of their daughter Jennifer to Craig Stewart, with a very memorable reception held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. Jim and Karen enjoyed celebrating this momentous occasion with family and friends.
Ultimately, Jim Krug was a man of many passions. He loved his religion, he loved his family and he loved his friends and neighbors.
He loved teaching and coaching, he loved his morning danish and coffee, he loved sports and, of course, a good story. Jim loved the park and the town he grew up in. It is inevitably fitting that Jim Krug live on in our hearts and minds forever.
A commemorative service for Jim Krug was held prior to the opening tip-off of the adult basketball season.
This year marks the 25th year of both the adult and youth summer programs at the Recreation Center,
and it was Jim Krug who was the creator of these multi-faceted day and night programs.
After remarks by Senior Program Director John Michon, Village Justice Doug Hayden (one of Jim’s first sport’s counselors in 1983)
recalled the wonderful contributions Jim made to the village during his tenure.
Trustee and Recreation Commissioner Jim Rhatigan also acknowledged that Jim’s presence
will always be in evidence as the basic layout of the park and the expansion of both adult and youth programs were Jim’s brain child.
Jim’s wife Karen, son Jimmy, daughter Jennifer, daughter-in-law Joan and
Jim’s six grandchildren, as well as many relatives and friends were on hand.
Jimmy Krug threw out the ceremonial “jump ball” to
Eric Kroeger (counselor under Jim, now Morning Sports Supervisor) and
Bobby Thomspon (lifeguard under Jim)