On October 31st at age 66, Dr. John Kruckeberg departed his earthly home and entered into his heavenly home and the presence of his Savior (Obituary). Almost four years ago John was diagnosed with cancer, yet even amidst the diagnosis he kept on serving, leading CVM short-term trips and pouring into the lives of those around him. Just last year he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association.
Here are just a few of the testimonies of the lives John touched. May you be blessed and encouraged through the reading of these.
In 2003, I was privileged to travel with Dr. John Kruckeberg to several countries in North East Africa and learn about his heart for sharing God’s love with people and willingness to do whatever needs to be done. What a servant! Following that trip, John responded to a need from CVM to help provide vet care on the Navajo Nation. After taking several CVM mission trips by himself to Arizona and New Mexico, he developed a passion for the Native Americans, helping them to better care for their animals and sharing the love of Christ by working in partnership with them. Over the next 15 years, John developed and led CVM missions to 9 reservations in 6 states. John was not only faithful to take time to learn the culture, but made efforts to call and keep up contact the best he could throughout the year. During this time, John began to challenge and mentor other CVM volunteers in Native American Ministry, raising up a whole new generation of CVM leaders to follow in his footsteps. Even during his last 4 years, while John was being treated for cancer he continued to actively participate in mission trips, mentoring and encouraging those who were taking over his leadership roles. As we enter 2017, CVM will have 7 mission teams working on 7 reservations with an expected 120 volunteers to share the love of Christ and help people take better care of their animals. We will all greatly miss John and the example he set, but it makes me smile to see the legacy he left and the impact he had on countless others.
-Dr. Brad Frye, CVM Program Director
I remember John for his engaging smile and purposed heart to know how I was really doing. John has been one of our champions. So many lives have been touched as he was faithful to serve, encourage, and mobilize people. John was always about the other guy or gal. His servant’s heart was seen by those we serve around the world and Christ’s love was very evident to all. His own faith journey was an inspiration to so many. May we use His example to encourage and challenge our own walks of faith!
– Dr. Kit Flowers, CVM Executive Director
Dr. John, you helped so many. You helped people through your knowledge of veterinary medicine. You helped vet students like me learn how to be mission-minded in every day-to-day interaction, not just on a mission trip. You helped veterinarians step back from their over-scheduled days at the clinic and sign up for a week or two to use their talents and abilities to help others without any earthly gain or reward. You helped clients deal with tough decisions regarding their animals, and you were full of grace and compassion and love in every conversation. You helped people who have nothing to do with veterinary medicine get plugged in to mission work. You helped me learn that leading doesn’t have to be loud or overly-organized, but rather that it can be serving in nature and allow others to step forward and contribute. You helped me learn that being a missionary doesn’t always mean going all over the world, but it means showing Christ to everyone I encounter. You helped me grow in my faith while teaching me veterinary medicine skills and techniques. You helped me develop a passion for serving others through veterinary medicine, and after caring for a person’s animal, how to care for their heart by sharing the gospel. (An excerpt from Stevie’s blog post)
-Dr. Stevie Dietzel, CVM Short-Term Mission Trip Leader and Volunteer
I suspect that John and I have been on 12+ short-term mission teams together. On those trips we were always busy working and usually went different directions, so we really never got to spend much time together. Where we had the best conversations seemed to be by phone. They always started “Hey Bill,” I would say “Hey John,” and away we would go. They always ended with “Love you, Bill,” and “I love you, John.” Anytime I would ask about his health he would say “God gives me every day just what I need.” At his visitation I heard a person say about John, “He never quoted scripture to me, never tried to force religion, he just loved me.” He looked for the good in everybody. He said ‘yes’ whenever God called. Blessed to be his friend.
-Dr. Bill Rishel, CVM Representative to the CRISTA Advisory Board
You know when someone has left a mark on your life when you do something and then say, I learned that from so and so. There are things that I do in life now because of John Kruckeberg. He was a real inspiration to so many and I have never talked to anyone who knew John and didn’t say the most positive things about him. I got to talk to John several times on the phone before we ever met. I was in Nashville for the AAEP conference and was blessed to have supper with he and his wife, Linda. No matter where he was, he was ministering. Only a handful of folks would ask the waiter how he can pray for them and then carry on a conversation about it. While he was going through cancer treatment, he reached out to me when I battled cancer, and then got his friends with the same type of cancer to call and encourage me. John was part of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. I look at his passing as David did with his son in 2 Samuel 12, John will not return to us, but for those that have their hope in Christ, we will go to him.
-Dr. Glenn Gaines, CVM South Central Regional Representative
Over ten years ago, Dr. John Kruckeberg was one of the first people to see potential in me. He asked me to take over leading a short-term mission trip to Mexico for him and then both actively and passively coached me through it. Seeing potential in people is what John did. Helping them realize that potential is one of the things that made him so wonderful. It must have been rewarding to watch some of his students rise up into servant leaders following in his footsteps. But what I think is most beautiful now is that, in Heaven, he can see the potential God put in everyone. He always did see people as God created them not as the world had shaped them. Now, what a treat to see all people in the full glory God intended for them in His own image. I speak for CVM when I say, we can’t thank you enough Kruckeberg family, Linda, Jessica, Ginny, Johnny, and Joe for the sacrifices you made to share John with us and with the world. As some have said, “The world is a lesser place today.” My dream is that in John’s absence now, we will all step up to fill the hole he left, and give back from the love Jesus, through John, poured out on each of us.
-Dr. Lauren Charles, CVM Southeast Regional Representative
Life and death, his earthly body is gone, yet his spirit lives on in the lives he touched. May we continue to be inspired by the life he lived for the Lord! What a beautiful legacy he leaves. Please continue to pray for his family and friends as they mourn the loss of this incredible man.
Do you have your own story to share about John? We would love to hear from you! Please share how he touched your life in the comments, as we remember him together.
Consider giving a gift to honor John and bless the organization that had his heart.