OHS Remembers Bruce Krug

OHS Remembers Bruce Krug

Bruce Krug was a man worth knowing. Although physically a bigger person than most others of his generation, it was Bruce’s voracious appetite for life, insatiable curiosity, and lifelong generous support of both Ontario’s environment and history for which the esteemed native of Chesley will best be remembered.

Like other provincial personalities of prominence, Krug, over his long lifetime, attracted a considerable following made up of loyal admirers. Truth be known, Bruce’s means were only exceeded by his unlimited kindness and generosity. An example of this, which came late in his life, was his personal donation of $100,000 to the Chesley Medical Clinic Expansion Project. Krug’s financial support of Bruce and Grey County museums and historical societies is also well known. In 1990, the Bruce County Historical Society recognized his assistance and dedication by appointing him a lifetime honorary vice-president.

A keen interest in local and national history led Krug in many different directions. As a result, he built up many valuable collections consisting of rare books, stamps, postcards and a sizeable array of other objects related to pioneer days. An enthusiastic photographer, his fondness for old barns resulted in countless images of a way of life fast eroding.

When it came to the history of Bruce and Grey Counties, Bruce Krug never tired of rural outings during which his driver and nephew Jim Siegrist absorbed fascinating history lessons from his much-loved mentor. The trips continued even after Bruce entered a nursing home.

The son of the late Christian and Mary Hauser, Bruce was the last surviving member of a noted family that, in their time, employed over 600 Grey-Bruce men and women in their factory, sawmill and forests. During the 1980s, when many competing Ontario-based furniture factories closed, the Krug Bros. Furniture Manufacturing business soldiered on, making it to 1987, one year after its centennial. In 2002, the remarkable Krug family story was published under the title A Century of Excellence. Written by Howard Krug and edited by well-known Bruce Peninsula writer Ruth Cathcart, the comprehensive and generously illustrated book was designed by Derek Chung and published by Natural Heritage Books (book cover pictured below).

It has often been said that Bruce Krug lived in the shadow of his older brother Howard, but any serious study of their relationship would suggest a special bond and much in common between the two. Re-establishing the Bluebird population in the northern part of the Bruce Peninsula, remains, according to some, their finest achievement. Others, however, believe that Bruce and Howard, both pioneers in reforestation, made their greatest contribution to Ontario by gifting to the then Federation of Ontario Naturalists the Kinghurst Tract, their unrivalled 600 acres of old growth forest.

Be the gifts small or substantial, “giving back” was always the Krug way and no one did it better than the late Bruce Krug. He will be greatly missed.

Barry Penhale
Publisher Emeritus, Dundurn
and Bruce Krug’s friend