On March 12, 1926 at the Pearson Farm west of Kalispell (Smith Valley) in a little dirt floor log cabin, Alven Emil Krantz was born to John Emil and Mayme Pearson Krantz. On April 24, 2023 Alven passed away at his home in Evergreen of natural causes at the age of 97.
When Alven was less than 2 months old his mother, Mayme passed and he grew up with several "host" families during his early childhood. He had 2 older sisters: Mamie Marie "Minnie" and Ellen Merle (Schend). Dad always told me he had "lots of Mamas" growing up. At the age of 11, he met Dan Lynch. They had a conflict over a girl and after it was over they talked it out, traded pocket knives and became special life-long friends. They fished and hunted together and even worked together driving taxi after WWII.
On August 16, 1944 Alven was inducted into the US Army and served in the European Theater as an Infantryman with Company B, 313th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division under combat conditions in the Battle of the Bulge and at the crossing of the Rhine. After the War ended, he volunteered as a cook and was a Mess SGT until his discharge on July 2, 1946. He was one great cook and his spaghetti was second to none. He returned to the Flathead and drove Taxi for the Yellow Cab Company ran by Dan Lynch.
Alven started driving truck at the age of 14 and pretty much made a career of truck driving. He hauled logs, grain, ore from the Flathead Mine, drove lowboy, and drove dump and plow trucks for Flathead County until he retired at age 65. He earned an admirable reputation as a Trucker and was very proud of it. In between some of his driving jobs he found other types of employment to fill in. He worked at the Anaconda Aluminum Plant at Columbia Falls in the early 50's for a short time, ran the Farmer's Union in Kremlin, as well as helped his brother in-law Charlie Schend on the farm.
In 1948, he wed Isle Edgman and they had 2 children: Kimmie Jean and Rodney Edward. That union ended in a divorce a few years later. In August of 1952 he married Kathleen (Kathy) M. Tennant in Havre, Mt. Kathy had one child: Theran (Teri) Rose who Alven later adopted. By 1964 they added 3 more children to the family: Richard (Rick) Allen, Debra (Debbie) Kay and Brenda Lee. After Debbie was born in 1955, the family moved back to the Flathead Valley where he continued his career driving truck. Alven made many lifelong friends from his work and activities before retiring in 1991. Gordon Heindel (Mary Jane) and Bob Ellesch (Liz) are two of those special lifelong friends that are still with us.
Alven loved fishing, hunting and camping with his family and friends. One of his favorite areas was Hungry Horse Reservoir, but he also loved going out west of Kalispell to recreate. He enjoyed mechanicing in his shop and during spring break-up he would usually work maintenance on his employer's trucks and equipment. He was a good provider for his family and if a friend needed some help, he was there.
Alven was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Kathy; daughter, Debbie; three sisters, Mamie Marie, Ellen Merle, Mildred (aged 13 days); stepbrother, Victor Hoppus; stepsister, Martha Hoppus Anderson (Kermit); nephew, Fred Bullman (Mary); and niece, Jackie Donovan (Earl).
He is survived by two sons, Rod Miller (Sandy), Rick Krantz (Debbi); three daughters, Kim Bauch (Dennis), Terri Grigg (Rex), Brenda Krantz (George); Nephew, Terry Schend (Cindy); grandsons, Ben Krantz (Rachel), Tyler Krantz, Ryan Krantz, Cory Miller, Jesse Miller; granddaughters Tammy Zeller, Cassie Kiern, Heidi Ewing; cousins Jewell Sykes (Robert), Irvin Olsen (JoAnn), several great grandchildren and great nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at 11:00am, Saturday, May 13th, 2023 at the Buffalo Hills Funeral Home with Pastor Jim Holman officiating. There will be a reception afterwards and the Moose Lodge, 2158 U.S. 2 E., in Kalispell. The family suggests that memorial gifts or donations be given to the American Legion or a charity of you choosing.
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