John Kriha, of Antigo, died Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at Evergreen Terrace. He was 88 years old. He was born on April 6, 1927 in Aniwa, a son of Joseph and Theresa (Youngbauer) Kriha. He married Mary Smith on June 24, 1950 in Antigo. She preceded him in death on February 26, 2013.
He was a graduate of Antigo High School with the class of 1945.
He served in the United States Army from 1945-1946 having been stationed in France and Germany during WWII.
In 1950 he received a bachelors degree in agricultural economics with a minor in business administration from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
In 1951 he began employment with Kraft Incorporated in Hutchinson, Minnesota. He returned to Antigo in 1954 to work at the local Kraft plant as assistant manager. He was named plant manager in 1957, a title he held until retirement in 1985. Mr. Kriha was a real estate developer having developed a subdivision south of Antigo. He also worked as a real estate broker.
Mr. Kriha was well known in the community being active in several civic, government and social organizations. He was a 60 year member and past president of the Antigo Rotary Club, member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge 662 in Antigo, past president and member of the Antigo Area Chamber of Commerce and member of the local Toastmasters Club. He was a member of St. John Catholic Church, the Msgr. Conrad Saile Knights of Columbus Council 1002 and sang in Of Chorus, all of Antigo. He was elected to the Antigo Unified School Board, the Langlade County Board of Supervisors from 1992 – 2004 and served as the county delegate to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress for 27 years where he was appointed to their executive council and two terms on the Citizens Department of Natural Resource budget committee. He was a member of the National Rifle Association, the National Trappers Association and past president of the University of Wisconsin Alumni Club of Antigo.
His hobbies included hunting, fishing, hiking, reading, fur trapping and traveling.
Survivors include a daughter, Diane (Eugene) Stefanski, Antigo; a son, Dennis Kriha, Casselberry, FL; two grandchildren, Brandon (Elisha) Stefanski, Marshfield, Andrea (Michael) Mattmiller, Green Bay; two great grandchildren Connor Scott and Charlie John Stefanski; also survived by his wife’s family: John Smith of King, Kay Petersen, Post Lake, Robert (Bertha) Smith, Two Rivers, Larry (Suzanne) Smith, Pelican Lake; Judith (Terry) Schmutzer, Antigo; many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife and parents he was preceded in death by his sister, Mary (John) Klement, a brother, Joseph Kriha, and his wife’s family: Ray (Eunice) Smith, Phyllis (Jerome) Marvin, James (Lorraine) Smith, Beverly (Jewett) DeHart, Patricia Smith.
A memorial service will be held on Friday November 6, 2015 at 11 a.m. at Bradley Funeral Home with Rev. Charles Hoffmann officiating. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery where the Antigo Veterans will conduct military rites. Visitation will be 9 a.m. until the time of services at the Bradley Funeral Home.