Lucian P. Kryger

By on March 3, 2014

Lucian P. Kryger, a legend in the polka field and a wonderful family man and friend to all who knew him, passed away Wednesday, January 29, 2014, at his home with his loving family by his side.

Born January 7, 1931, in Shenandoah, PA, he was the son of the late Brunon & Alexandria Wroclawski Kryger. Lucian was a 1949 graduate of Marymount High School, Wilkes Barre, PA and an Army veteran of the Korean War.

Lou was a skilled and passionate musician who was dedicated to entertaining. After the passing of their father, Lucian and his brothers, George “Jerry” and Bruce, established The Kryger Brothers Orchestra. After Bruce’s death & Jerry’s retirement, Lucian continued the band as The Kryger Orchestra until 1996. Lucian was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1988 for his “Polka Mania” album and he, along with his father & brother Bruce, were enshrined in The Polka Hall of Fame. The Kryger Family holds the special distinction of being, the first time in polka history that three members of one family, a father and two sons have been inducted into The Polka Hall of Fame.  Also, the band has the longest running sales of a polka album, “Polish Wedding Memories”, recorded in 1962 and still selling; the album that has sold more than any other album, throughout the country.

The family also owned and operated Kryger Music Store in downtown Wilkes Barre for many years. He was a member of the Blinded Veterans Association.

Lou’s innate talent and passion for music was evident. He could pick up nearly any instrument and play it beautifully. This past Christmas he entertained his family by playing polkas and Christmas songs on this violin by memory. His love of music was eclipsed only by his love for his family. He was a kind and caring husband, father, grandfather and brother.

Through his love of polka music, Lou made so many people happy with the distinctive, unique blend of instruments & styling that was indicative of The Kryger Orchestra.   The music he composed, arranged and the musicians played, would tug at your heart and emotions. He loved to play and took pride in the quality and impact, now knowing when to quit, establishing electricity within the crowd.  I know of no other band that does that better.  Care for a polka band and you care about their families and you become aware of the love and sacrifice on everyone’s part. It’s hard work on top of a regular job and doesn’t leave much time for anything else.  When Lou and his band played, you knew it was The Kryger Orchestra. They had a unique sound of their own and everyone knew that.

What is it that we remember when we think of Lou?  I think everyone who knows him very well would agree, it was his sense of making people happy through his music. Lou indeed loved life wonderfully. He was so well loved  & cared for by his loving wife, Eleanor, his daughters, Luciann & Allison, grandchildren Ryann & Steven and sister Barbara.  Lou had done so many things on earth and I’m sure he’ll do much more in heaven and write some more songs.

Lou is in heaven now. This is not the time to grieve his death, but it’s our time to celebrate his life. Don’t ever forget Lucian. He never wanted to see people cry. He wanted to make everyone happy. So let’s all think back & remember how Lucian touched our lives. How he made us laugh and be happy and how good Lucian was as a person. We should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known a man named Lucian Kryger. Lou will be forever missed but in the right time, we will meet Lucian again and he will make us happy with his wonderful music.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, George “Jerry” and Brunon, Jr. “Bruce”; and sister, Eleanor Adams.

Surviving are his wife of 51 years, the former Eleanor Stelevich; daughters, Luciann Grochowski & her husband, John; Allison Kryger; grandchildren, Ryann Jones and her husband Coulter; and Steven Grochowski; sister, Barbara Kryger, NY.

Funeral services, with military honors, were held on Saturday, February 1, 2014 in Our Lady of Hope Parish, Wilkes Barre PA.

Donations may be made to The Medical Oncology Associates Prescription Drug Fund, 382 Pierce St., Kingston, PA 18704.  Condolences may be sent to: The Kryger Family, 1 Eight Iron Drive, Mountain Top PA 18707.

– Submitted by Dolly Kubasko