John Arthur Kranich, 80, of Waterford, died on July 14, 2022 at Autumn Leaves of Franklin due to complications from dementia. Surrounded by family, he took his last breath while being serenaded to “Amazing Grace” by his hospice music therapist. Just before he passed, he lifted his hand towards his wife and gave his beloved family a small smile. Then his face relaxed and filled with peace.

John was born on May 27, 1942, in Milwaukee to Arthur and Ella (Krueger) Kranich and was the younger brother of Mary (Kranich) Spiegelberg. He had deep blue eyes like his mother, shared her birth month and was similar in temperament and kindness. Together, they took the city bus to Milwaukee Brewers games. His father taught him to use tools, shoot and fish. Sister Mary called John “kid” all his life. John was a fisherman all his life and hunted antelope in Wyoming with his friend of 60 years, Nels Anderson, and later with son, Chris. About 10 years ago, John put away his rifle in favor of photographing antelope and feeling grateful when they grazed and lazed on his land.

At 15, John started his long career with Walgreens as a “soda jerk” back when pharmacies had a counter for burgers, malts and soda pops. After graduating from Milwaukee Washington High School in 1960, he started a pre-pharmacy program at UWM and then transferred to and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965 with a degree in pharmacology. John worked for Walgreens as a pharmacist his entire professional career. He always took the time to speak with and get to know his patients, many of whom followed John when he transferred from the Downtown Racine location to the Racine Regency Mall store and eventually the 24-hour Kenosha store. He retired from full-time work after 38 years but continued to help out and fill in so his co-workers could take time off.

John met Judith Keith of Milwaukee at Washington High School and they married in 1963. They have three children, Kimberlie Kranich (Emily Fetterer) of Champaign, Illinois, Christopher (Erica) Kranich of Chippewa Falls, and Matthew (Jamie) Kranich of Waterford. Judith was the primary caregiver and homemaker while John worked. They divorced in 1974. He parented his young children every other weekend and during summers took them on special trips up north for camping, cottaging, fishing, swimming, go-karting, water skiing and vacationing with his parents, or his sister’s family or Nels and his family. He exposed them to the national parks out west on an epic trip when they were teenagers where they cooked by campfire, slept in tents, bickered in the wilderness and stepped into Wyoming for the first of many times. His children share his love of nature, history, current events and their love for him.

John’s blue eyes, wide smile, gentleness and sense of humor attracted Antonia Burk and they married at home in Racine on June 1, 1985 with their children as witnesses. John’s family expanded with the addition of stepchildren Steve (Sharon) Zach and Chuck (Lisa) Zach. John and Toni Kranich remained happily married until his death.

John had many talents. As a perfectionist, he preferred to do what he was good at. Working with wood was one of those things. He hand-carved a little duck whittling away for hours until it looked like a duck! He built the kitchen table, kitchen cabinets and the bathroom vanities that furnish the log cabin he designed in Wyoming. Though gentle, he was competitive and often beat his family in games of tennis, ping pong, mini golf, cards and bowling. He caught hundreds of fish while casting his line into the North Platte River and cooked them for us to enjoy. John was also good at caring for his parents. Along with sister Mary, he helped them maintain their independence so they could live at home through their deaths in their mid-90s. His love for them transferred over to his children and to Toni who called them Momma and Pop. Though he probably would not consider himself a poet, John wrote the most beautiful poem for his daughter on her 42nd birthday.

John enjoyed a full 37 years with Toni. They maintained the Wyoming cabin together and stayed there twice a year inviting family and friends to join them. Together they attended plays, movies, church, family events and put together puzzles, raised chickens, took drives in the country, walked on beaches, admired lighthouses and more. They were each other’s best friends. Their love and support for each other was obvious to everyone. It was John’s great pleasure to listen to Toni play the piano at home and the bells at church. Later in life, he helped her in the kitchen and made the beds.

John loved Elvis, Johnny Cash and other country artists. He was a voracious reader. And he enjoyed his Friday morning men’s breakfasts at The Town Fryer with members of his church.

John supported his grandchildren’s extracurricular activities, attending games, matches, recitals and meets. When they were younger, he would play hide-and-seek, shopping, board games, read to them, tickle them and most importantly, he listened to them.

John had a good sense of humor. He was lighthearted. He also worried, but kept his worries mostly to himself or shared them with Toni. When his dementia caused him confusion and fear and he could no longer do everything for himself, Toni took on new responsibilities and cared for him in their home. His children and stepchildren rallied around him, becoming closer as a family in the process. John would have been proud of us all.

In addition to his wife, children, stepchildren, and sister, John is survived by his grandchildren, Adler Kranich, Grace Kranich, Rylie Kranich, Brady Kranich, Azmi-Kranich Fetterer, Nicole Zach, Connor Zach, Bo (Kate) Zach, Brooke (Chase) Proctor, and Bryan (Camille) Zach; niece Rachel (Mike) Formella; nephew Eric (Beth) Seybold; and great-grandchild Antun Zach.

John’s family is grateful for the care he received at Linden Grove and Autumn Leaves. John’s hospice care team members from Legacy Hospice gave him and his family great care and brought them all much comfort.

The family will have a private celebration of life for John later this summer at his pole barn where he spent many hours creating furniture and decorative shelves.