It was a source of great pride for Robert W. Krause that he was among the more than 62,000 fans on hand at Yankee Stadium for Lou Gehrig's famous "luckiest man alive" speech July 4, 1939.
Those who knew the longtime Clintonville resident counted themselves lucky, too.
Krause, who brought his family to Columbus from New York in 1959 when he went to work as a journalist for Nationwide Insurance, died Dec. 13.
He was 90 years old.
"You could always count on him," said Joan Krause, his daughter. "If he said we were going to leave at 7 o'clock to listen to the symphony, that's when we left. If he said he was going to do something, he always did it."
Prior to his death, Krause and his wife of 67 years, Gloria Weiser Krause, who survives him, had moved to Westminster-Thurber Community in the Short North, but for years prior to that, he led the current-events group there, his daughter said. He prided himself on being well-informed about local, national and international events, and read The Columbus Dispatch, USA Today and The New York Times daily, Joan Krause said.
Not long before her father died, she added, a friend commented that she had been fortunate to have learned a lot from a fine man.
"That you try to carry on," she said. "That really put it into perspective. My father was so bright and interested in so many things. What a great example to love the life that you have. I think because he read a lot, he was interested in a lot of things."
"He was a gentleman to the end," said friend Rick Grawemeyer, also of Clintonville.
He first met Krause around 35 years ago as a placement counselor helping to find a job for Krause's son, Robert R. "Rocky" Krause, who was born with a mild developmental disability. Later, Grawemeyer said, he came to know him professionally after Krause became president of the board for ARC Industries.
Their friendship, however, was cemented 15 years ago when Grawemeyer chanced to see Krause at the Olympic Swim Club, where Krause, well into his 80s, would ride his bicycle and read his newspapers on a poolside lawn chair.
Grawemeyer reintroduced himself.
"He asked me one question -- 'Do you like baseball?' -- and that started our relationship that went way beyond just going to baseball games," Grawemeyer said.
"He was always a real positive guy," recalled Cliff Wiltshire, former commentary editor for Suburban News Publications and now development director for the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center. "What I remember was his love of baseball. He always seemed to manage to squeeze a baseball reference in there, no matter what time of year."
Wiltshire got to know Krause through his editorial contributions to The Booster. Krause began writing his lighthearted, wide-ranging guest columns in 1990, with his final submission published in May 2012.
"He always had a joke," Wiltshire said. "He always seemed to leave you with a joke at the end of a conversation, which always put a smile on your face. I don't know how he remembered all those jokes. He seemed to have a new one every time you talked to him."
"He always had a joke for me and for everybody else, too," Grawemeyer agreed. "He had one of those memories; he could not forget a good joke -- or a bad joke."
Krause graduated from the University of Iowa, where he met his wife. He had a lifelong career in journalism, including 28 years with Nationwide, primarily as editor of the in-house publication.
"Sometimes he would write personal stories about people that he knew," Joan Krause said. "I have saved all of his stories over the years he wrote for The Booster. He would write sometimes about something he had read, like a Dickens novel. He has written stories about ... his brother, a best friend that he'd had for 70 years. Whatever he felt interested in, that's what he wrote about.
"Sometimes he would get, I guess, rebuttals from something that he wrote," she said. "He loved to be able to get that kind of reaction. He never took it personally. He wrote because it was challenging. He had made a commitment to The Booster and they were able to print his stories at least once a month for many, many years."
Perhaps Grawemeyer summed it up best.
"He was quite a guy," he said.