William “Bill” Kraus, Age 96, of Bethel Park, PA went to meet his loving wife in heaven on January 22,2022. He was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife of 55 years, Christina (Chapman) Kraus and his brother, Leo Kraus.
Bill was born on Pittsburgh's Southside on November 28, 1925. Bill graduated early from high school to serve his country with the Army Air Corps during WWII. He trained as a left blister gunner on the B-29 bomber. He served with the 382nd bomb group. He made life-long friends with his flight crew who were stationed in Havana, Cuba.
In 1941, he began working for the G.C. Murphy Company in downtown Pittsburgh when he was just 16 years old. Upon returning home from WWII, he resumed his career. He was well respected and quickly moved through the ranks: from stockroom clerk, store manager, toy buyer to Vice President (Merchandise Variety Lines). He retired after 44 years of service.
He was featured on the cover of Toys magazine (October 1972) and in the article "What Makes Murphy's Tick." In that article, he was called the "nation's toy salesman." He was also profiled in the book, "For the Love of Murphy's."
He was presented with the Torch of Liberty Award by the Anti-Defamation League in 1964 for his inspirational leadership in fighting bigotry and dedication to the preservation of the American heritage of freedom. After his retirement, he continued to assist with critical issues that affected his community and was recognized by the City of Pittsburgh Mayor in 1986 for his efforts. He instilled his strong work ethics in his children at an early age. Every Saturday, they spent the morning in the toy sample room as unofficial toy testers, enjoying the latest toy innovations. Their reward, a favorite donut and unlimited access to the candy drawer in his office.
He enjoyed traveling the world professionally and personally. His many adventures included hiking the Great Wall of China, riding the bullet train through Japan, ascending to the top of the pyramids in Egypt, transiting the Nile River, receiving a blessing from the Pope during mass at the Vatican, singing with the gondolier in Venice, enjoying the views of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, and crisscrossing the globe (Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan) while purchasing toys.
He attributed his long life to his love of adventure and exercise. As a boy, he walked all over the city of Pittsburgh with adventures as far as the county airport in West Mifflin. He would stop at Isaly's, when he had a few coins in his pocket. As an adult, he enjoyed swimming during his lunch hour at the YMCA in McKeesport.
Bill was the loving father to Emily-Beth Kraus of Bethel Park, and Chris-Ann (Joseph) Scott of Fredericksburg, Virginia, proud grandpa of Kiersten (Geoff) Summers of Midlothian, Virginia and Hunter Scott of Alexandria, Virginia. Bill was especially proud to be a great-grandpa to Sloane and Slade Summers. He is also survived by his sister, Geraldine Gerhold.
Funeral arrangements by BEINHAUER-CONNELL. Friends welcome at 5120 West Library Avenue, Bethel Park, 412-835-7940 on Tuesday 4-8 p.m. Everyone please meet at Jefferson Memorial Park Mausoleum on Wednesday at a time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Golden Retrievers in Need (GRIN), P.O. Box 24365, Cleveland, Ohio 44124 or donations may be made online at https://grinrescue.org/support/donate-to-grin. Please add and view tributes at www.beinhauer.com.
Originally published January 25, 2022.