UI community remembers Bill Krause

BY EMMA WILLIS | JUNE 20, 2013 5:00 AM

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Kum & Go founder Bill Krause died Wednesday in his West Des Moines home. He was 78.

Two years after graduating from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1957, Krause began as an entrepreneur. What started out as a small gas station and carwash expanded to a larger convenience store by 1963 and gradually turned into a franchise spread throughout the central United States.

With more than 400 stores open in more than 11 states, Kum & Go is now the fifth largest company-operated convenience-store chain in the United States.

Krause was a leader in the company until his decision to retire in 2003, 44 years after he began his enterprise.

As a UI alumnus, officials say, his presence in the Hawkeye community will thoroughly be missed.

“Bill Krause was the epitome of what we mean when we say ‘Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.’

With his passing, the University of Iowa has lost a great friend and one of its staunchest supporters,” UI President Sally Mason said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the Krause family, and we promise all of Bill’s loved ones and many friends that his memory will never fade from our hearts.”

“The University of Iowa lost a very, very good friend today,” Richard Klatt, the associate athletics director for external relations, wrote in an email.

Hawkeye Athletics Director Gary Barta recognized Krause’s contributions and support of Hawkeye athletics.

“We lost an important member of the Hawkeye family today,” he said in a statement. “Bill has been a significant contributor to the economy of the state of Iowa and a great supporter of the Hawkeyes for many years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nan and the entire Krause family as they mourn their loss.”

Gov. Terry Branstad also issued a statement Wednesday.

“Bill Krause was a great Iowa entrepreneur,” he said. “He built a successful family business that focuses on providing outstanding service to its customers. He was a manager for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team and a loyal Hawkeye fan. He always had a smile on his face, an upbeat attitude, and he was fun to be around. He will be greatly missed.”

As major contributors to the Hawkeye athletics program, Krause and his wife Nancy donated $5 million for the renovation of Kinnick Stadium. 

Krause also established the Krause Fund in 1998, which provides the opportunity to manage an endowed equity portfolio to more than 1,200 students of the Tippie College of Business, where he served on the Advisory Board.

Business Dean Sarah Gardial said Krause had contributed greatly to the college.

“Our college is in a better place thanks to his guidance and support,” Gardial said in a statement. “Bill Krause's influence will be felt for decades as the Krause Fund continues to have a positive influence on Iowa business students.”

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