Jewel Victor Kraft was born May 30th, 1931 to a pioneering family in the Asker District east of Ponoka, Alberta. At 89 years old, he died peacefully in bed in his own home in Leduc, Alberta.
Jewel was a kind, happy, family man who loved the simple things in life. Jewel is survived by his wife of 69 years, Pearl (Chartrand) Kraft. Recently he said, "The best thing we ever did was have a family."
Jewel and Pearl's beloved family includes:
Son Tom (Elaine Boelhke) Kraft, their children of Red Deer,
Jason Kraft (Laura Barrington) his children, Emily and Spencer Kraft and Josh Taylor,
Jessica Kraft (Allan Birrell), of Sylvan Lake
Jennifer Kraft (Ryan Turner) their daughter Hazel Turner,
Daughter Catherine (Hal) Graham, their children of St. Albert and Edmonton:
Tamara (Greg) Madziong their children Gavin and Caelyn,
Hal Jarret Graham (Terra West), their baby daughter Khloe
Bobby (Raquel) Graham, their daughters Brooklyn, Ireland, Elliott, and their son William.
Daughter Valarie Kraft, her children of Calgary:
Kate, Julia, Sam (Brianna) Carney.
Son Richard Kraft and his children of Edmonton:
Michael, Maria and Mathew Kraft
Jewel is survived by his brother Ken Kraft of Calgary, sisters Carrie (Bob) Kroening, and Marilyn (Wayne) McGarvey of Ponoka and sisters-in-law Lily Cotton Lemke and Valerie Haleck.
Jewel was predeceased by his parents, Elexis (Fleming) and Gustav Kraft, and his brothers and sisters-in-law, George and Maud, Vern and Anna Mae, nephew Gus Kraft and niece Wilda Haleck.
Jewel's life reads like a true country western novel; he loved his mother, his wife and family, and he loved to dance. Jewel work hard, long hours shaping the province he loved, Alberta.
After a miraculous birth in which a newly immigrated Norweigian midwife, Emma Eklie assisted his mother, Jewel enjoyed the life of a farm boy growing up with his large family during the depression. As a farming family everyone did their share; they were industrious and grew and made nearly everything they needed. Jewel even helped his mother tend the bees and make their own honey!
Farming gave Jewel a broad education in machinery and a 'can do attitude', which along with a strong body and a sharp mind proved more than enough. He believed in working hard and challenging himself. Often, doing a good job was a reward in itself. His determination, and mechanical genius often helped him see a way through difficult tasks. Then, in the telling and retelling of his adventure with its twists and turns, what seemed impossible, was made possible.
At age 14 Jewel left school and by 16 started to work for farmers in the area. Most jobs landed him on the end of a shovel. Jewel did plumbing jobs with his brother Ken in Ponoka, while making sure he had fun going to most of the dances in the county. By 1951, while working seismic, he was married to 'the prettiest girl of the bunch' Pearl Chartrand. Married life brought them on the road. They lived and worked with the oil patch seismic crew throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan: Macklin, SK, Mayerthorpe and Pincher Creek AB to name a few memorable places.
After the oil patch, it was time to settle down before Tom started school. Jewel tried his hand at helping his father run the family farm for a year before driving truck for M. S. Gee Construction in Ponoka in 1957. While working his way up to be Merle Gee's Foreman, Jewel proved his metal by going back to work in the evenings to repair his truck, learning Heavy Duty Mechanics in the meantime. Over these 17 years, he rose to the challenge. Jewel did his best to run the company like a fine oiled machine and often worked around the clock. Still, being the Boss, he could pop in to home for a coffee or a meal or to drive the kids to school. His gregarious, patient nature made him an approachable 'huggie bear' father and grandfather.
Together, Jewel and Pearl raised a family and enjoyed the simple things of everyday life. Pearl learned to garden, cook and bake well, and Jewel treasured her home-cooked suppers with their family around the table. Both loved to dance and gather with family and friends. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, were celebrated! Summers were filled with camping trips and trailering excursions.
For his next career move in 1977, Jewel successfully challenged his Journeyman's ticket for Heavy Duty Mechanic and began work at Alberta Hospital of Ponoka in the Steam Plant. While there, Jewel added many new skills and made many good friends. Life was good! In his newfound free time, he curled, fished, he raised a horse, farmed a bit, and spent time teaching his kids and grandchildren all he knew.
Finally in 1983, continuing with the Government of Alberta, Jewel started a new, diverse, and satisfying position at the new Food Processing Plant in Leduc, Alberta. There, he challenged his Journeyman Steam and Millwrighting tickets, earning them both! Now he was a triple threat!
A back injury cut his career short in 1988. Computer technology was just coming in and he was eager to learn it and jump into the next generation of operations, but it was not to be.
So what would Jewel Kraft do with time on his hands? Adventure called from Arizona; he and Pearl became SnowBirds! Now came the part of life to play hard! He and Pearl enjoyed true 'Golden Years' with winters down south with new friends, a trip to Europe, and summers back in Leduc surrounded by family.
Jewel became the communicator in the family, the hub of the wheel, calling on birthdays, reaching out while in the area, always with a ready smile of welcome when people stopped in for coffee. The thing he enjoyed the most was his regular phone calls to his children. He kept everyone in the loop of what was going on in the family.
Jewel was proud of all his children and grandchildren and all their accomplishments. Throughout all of life's trials, Jewel was always willing to help, or talk or give a long view perspective on a situation to his family and friends. He loved us all. Jewel Kraft, husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend will be missed and shall be remembered.
A Funeral Service will be held at the Ponoka Funeral Home at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, the number of attendees who are not a part of the immediate family will be limited to 40 people. If you wish to attend, please RSVP to Tom at 403-348-1775. The family also would like to encourage you to bring a letter, photograph, or memento to place with Mr. Kraft in his casket if you wish.
The Interment Service will be held at the Asker Cemetery following the Funeral Service.
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