Sean Patrick Kruse was born March 17, 1967, the sixth of seven children to H.D. "Dave" and Catherine C. "Kitty" Kruse. The second of their children to be born with Down Syndrome. Sean departed this life on Monday September 28th, 2020, at age 53 surrounded by his family and caregivers.
Our mother saw the Developmentally Disabled (particularly the population with Down Syndrome) as prophets among us. She would reference the bible verse "unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven" as she felt that individuals like Sean were given to us by God to remind us of what is important in life. To love God and one another, to accept one another without prejudice, to focus on and create joy from the simpler things of life, and to serve those in need. By that criteria, Sean was an effective prophet. He was nicknamed Seanshine early in life, and truly was a light to others as he created joy wherever he went. His standard greetings were "Where you been?" or "What's your name? whether he knew you or not.
Although an individual with Developmental Disabilities, Sean was able to accomplish much in life. He was educated through the Lucas County DD program and graduated from Central Catholic as part of their "mainstream" program in 1989. A lifelong member of Little Flower Parish, Sean served as an acolyte and usher for several years. He met pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. He was an altar server at several family weddings, and often led prayers at family gatherings. He was also a member of the "Joy People".
Born on St Patrick's Day, we often referred to him as the world's largest leprechaun, and he proudly wore a tee shirt proclaiming that. He was well traveled and visited most of the US states and participated in a pilgrimage to Italy. He loved Notre Dame football, but also had a soft spot for OSU. Over the 20 years that Doctor Tony Frogameni treated him, he made sure that Sean's first love was Notre Dame though, presenting Sean with frequent ND gifts. Sean loved Dr. Froggy.
Aside from birthdays, perhaps the biggest annual events in Sean's life were the Lucas County DD dinner dances. Sean would dress up in coat and tie, and because of his short and rotund physical stature, looked somewhat like the Mayor of Munchkin land. He was an excellent dancer and loved to entertain by mimicking other people or performing excerpts from movie scenes. His favorite TV show was Golden Girls.
Someone like Sean does not live such a full life without assistance. All his siblings pitched in to make sure that his various needs were met, but as time went on and his illnesses increased, the family needed significant outside help. The Lucas County Board of DD provided significant assistance and guidance through his SASS Christina Boudreaux-Jechura. Her diligence, care, professionality and solution processes were of great value to us. The staff at Sean's adult program Assured Health, in particular Jill Harrington, were wonderful as we navigated through so many changes in Sean's abilities. His long-time aides, Catherine Davis and Wendy McVay have provided loving care and have become almost like family members to us. Thank you to Teresa, Lisa and the Taylor Made Nursing staff. We could not have gotten through these last weeks without your excellent and compassionate care for Sean. We would also like to acknowledge the staff at Hospice of NW Ohio for their guidance and care. Caring for Sean presented a unique set of challenges, and their compassionate assistance helped immensely as we navigated through his final weeks together.
Sean was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Matthew; and sister in law, Linda. He is survived by siblings, Mike (Lyn), Jim, Cathie Meade, T.J. (Ellen), and Chris; nephews, Andy (Megan) Kruse, Peter Kruse, Aaron Kruse, Daniel Meade, Ben Meade; nieces, Amanda (Paul) Dwyer, Sarah (Andrew) Derminer, Mary (Tom) Szymanski, Emily Kruse, Abby Kruse, Lauren (Mike) Anderson, Danica Baumert, Lindsay Kruse and several grand nephews and nieces.
The family will receive visitors on Friday October 2nd at Thos. I Wisniewski Funeral Home 2426 Reynolds Rd. Toledo, Ohio 43615 starting at 4:00 p.m., culminating with a scripture service at 7:00 p.m. Masks and social distancing please!
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 3rd, at Little Flower Parish, 5522 Dorr St., Toledo OH 43615. For those wishing to donate in Sean's memory, please consider Hospice of NW Ohio, Little Flower Parish, or the Office of People with Disabilities Diocese of Toledo.
Sean never complained, no matter how badly he felt. His standard answer was "I'm fine" (pronounced more like "I fine"). He had a fruitful and effective life. He touched many people and was loved. We're sure that as St Peter met him at the gates of Heaven and asked how are you? Sean answered, "I fine". Yes Sean, now that your suffering has passed, you are indeed fine…and our world is so much finer for the 53 years you were in it.
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Little Flower Catholic Church
5522 Dorr Street, Toledo OH 43615
Hospice of Northwest Ohio
30000 East River Road, Perrysburg OH 43551