Great Lakes News

Great Lakes News

Greg Krueger, 1948-2015

01-Jul-2015

Visionary leader, enthusiastic proponent of marine education, and dear friend to many, Greg Krueger, 67, of Boyne City, Michigan, passed away suddenly from a rare type of heart attack on April 25.

“He was vibrant soul, enthusiastic, honest, loving and passionate,” Krueger’s daughter, Amy L. Krueger Malow says.

“His zest for life was unparalleled, and it prevailed no matter what his circumstances were.”

Owner and president of Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales (JBYS), Krueger was the longest-serving Michigan Boating Industries Association (MBIA) board member and 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee, who led the way in marine education since co-founding the Recreational Boating Industry Education Foundation (RBIEF) in 1986. RBIEF was created to help provide financial support for education, training and professional development in the recreational marine trades.

“Education was paramount to my father,” Malow says. “He often said, ‘You can strip a man of many things but you can never take away his education.’ He was firm in his beliefs about the value of continuous learning and professional development.”

Krueger was born in 1948 in Detroit, Michigan, and spent most of his youth working in the marine industry, washing, detailing and running boats, overseeing boat yards, and even captaining the Harsens Island Ferry on the North Channel of St. Clair River. He often told his friends, “The course I charted for my life is simple — boating is not just my business, it’s my life.”

As a teenager Krueger was in charge of houseboat rentals for Sunset Marina on Harsens Island, Michigan, and later oversaw outboard motor repairs for Krueger’s Boats and Motors, which was owned and operated by his grandparents and father. He attended Wayne State University, where he earned a degree in business administration.

In 1971, Krueger started his career in boat sales at Jefferson Beach Marina; he was 23 years old and became the top salesman within six months, eagerly working under the mentorship of late industry icon, Alvin Wagner. In addition to sales, Krueger pursued boatbuilding. He started building center console vessels in 1982 and formed a company called American International.

“His contributions to the industry in terms of technology and model integrations with manufacturers all over the world were great and meaningful,” son, Erik Krueger says. “He really threw his heart and soul into how to build a better boat for the Great Lakes, or in some cases the U.S. in general, and he was diligent in refining those details with the manufacturers. He really is a global industry icon.”

Krueger is survived by his wife, Judy; children Amy Lynn Krueger Malow and Erik Gregory Krueger; grandchildren, Alayna Nancy Malow, Wade Victor Malow, Samuel Gregory Krueger and Isabel Nina Hutcheson; mother and step-father, Dorothy and Frank Pryg; and sisters Candice (Rob) Voigt and Lisa Irish.

“We are steadfast in keeping JBYS alive and well, and are very much able, to furthur leverage my father’s enthusiasm,” Malow says. “Our team [at JBYS] is exceptional and has demonstrated great commitment over the years. That’s what’s unique about our organization: We are our own sustainable family and our people truly value and respect one another, our manufacturers and most certainly our customers. My father fostered this; this is just who we are without exception.”

With six Great Lakes locations, JBYS is the oldest Viking Yachts dealer in the world, oldest Sunseeker dealer in the U.S. and among the oldest Princess dealers in the country.

Contributions/donations in Krueger’s memory should be sent to: RBEIF, c/o Michigan Boating Industries Association, 32398 Five Mile Rd., Livonia, MI 48154-6109.

Photo courtesy of the Krueger/Malow family

McGard