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January 22, 1921 - November 16, 2012 NORMAN Howard Kratzer Jr. was born on January 22, 1921, the first of three children, to Howard Sr. and Ruth Wilkinson Kratzer, at their family home near downtown Oklahoma City. He attended Shields Heights Elementary School and graduated a year early from Capitol Hill High School in 1938. After graduation, he became a baker's apprentice at Colonial Baking Company, where he met his lifetime best friend, Boyce Myers. In 1938, they decided to take dance lessons at Kotches School of Dance in OKC, where they fell in love with their dance instructors and future wives. On October 5, 1941, he married one of those instructors and the love of his life, Florence Louise Frank. Two months later and shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Howard enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Noumea, New Caledonia, for three years as a member of the 208th Military Police Company. After the war, he returned to Colonial Baking in Oklahoma City, where he began a long career in several different aspects of the food business. In 1948, he opened Plaza Donut Shop on N.W. 16th Street in Oklahoma City. Two years later, he accepted a position with Junge Biscuit Co. that soon lead to employment at Keebler Biscuit Co., Nestle Chocolate Co., and Libby McNeill & Libby for 17 years and W.J. Jones Food Broker. In 1971, Howard opened Village Doughnut Shop on Britton Road in Oklahoma City. Many a Village policeman and fireman would drop by for a free cup of coffee and donut. Because of his ability to make friends and shepherd, it was truly his dream job. Due to health reasons, he had to close the Doughnut Shop the next year and return to work as a Sales Representative for W.W. Wendt Food Broker until his retirement in 1986. In 1987, Howard and Flo moved from Oklahoma City to Hall Park in Norman to be close to their daughter, son-in-law and precious granddaughters. Their retirement years were filled with those granddaughters' activities, enjoying neighbors who had become "family" and always "taking time to smell the roses." Howard was active in Hall Park and could always be counted on to attend council meetings and add wisdom, common sense and sound judgment. He loved to be with people and would occasionally "get his fix" by working part time for RV General Store or Master Tech Auto Service. He loved to recount the many fond memories of weekends riding horses at the Kratzer farm, camping trips with Flo's siblings and annual summer vacations with his daughter's family. Howard departed this life Friday, November 16, 2012. He is joined in Heaven with his lifelong dance partner and soul mate, Florence; beloved son, Gary Howard; his sister, Mary Ruth Franklin; his parents; and other extended family members. He is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Judy and Tom Gibson; granddaughter, Amber Roop; granddaughter and husband, Carlye and Kamas Rooney; great-grandson, Landen Roop; sister and husband, Patricia and Thom Morrison; and loving caregiver, Kerrie Blood. Because of Howard's special way with all of God's Creatures, the Family requests that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in his name to Second Chance Animal Sanctuary: Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, Inc., 4500 24th Ave NW, Norman, OK 73069, In Memory of Howard Kratzer Jr. Graveside Services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 21, 2012, at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery in Oklahoma City. Arrangements are under the direction of John Ireland Funeral Home.

Published in The Oklahoman on Nov. 19, 2012
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