Robert "Bob" E. Kracht was born Sept. 23, 1930, to William and Iva Kracht in Meeker.
He attended the Coal Creek Schoolhouse and Upper Beaver School and lived on the family ranch up Little Beaver with his parents and older brother Billy Kracht. He graduated from Meeker High School in 1948 and, soon after, proudly entered the U.S. Army in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
Kracht served in the Korean War and was stationed in Panama and Greenland from 1949 to 1952, serving as a mechanic, engineer and drill sergeant.
Upon returning to Colorado, he married his sweetheart, Dolores Ann Jenkins, in February 1954. They were married 53 years. They had three children, Robert "Bob" W. Scott and Kathy. Bob also worked as a mechanic at Joy Motors in Meeker and suffered severe burns during a gas fire there at one time.
Upon recovery, he became employed by the YZ Cattle Co. and he and his family made their home up Southfork, at Stillwater. He later worked for Rio Blanco County as a heavy equipment operator for several years.
In 1964, Bob became the under sheriff of Rio Blanco County, serving under Russell Harp. Bob was elected sheriff of Rio Blanco County in 1965 and was re-elected three consecutive terms until his retirement in 1977. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., in 1972, and also attended secondary FBI training in Salt Lake City in 1975.
While in office, he was elected president of the Western Colorado Peace Officers Association.
He proudly served with his loyal deputies and staff of many years, Ron Hilkey, of Meeker; Ellis Johnson, of Meeker; Bill Murry, of Roswell N.M.; Don Brossow, of Eagle River, Alaska; Jim Marinelli, of Lansing, Mich.; and Dorothy Harvey, Betty Schneider, Bev Shaw, Janice Shults and the late Hallie Arnold and Parna Etchart, all of Meeker.
He often spoke of how their guys got along better "back then," long before laptops and cell phones were ever invented. Bob was a well-known legend in Colorado Law Enforcement and has friends in nearly every state.
Upon 'retiring' from his long tenure as sheriff, Bob accepted a position with the new coal mine just starting up, ColoWyo Coal Company. He worked there as a strip mine foreman from 1977 until 1995.
He then retired for a second time to be a full-time rancher on the Little Beaver Ranch where he grew up. Bob loved ranching, his cows, his beloved companion 'Bear Dog,' his mule 'Tommy' and just being outdoors. He could always be seen early mornings heading to the ranch with his sidekick 'Bear,' and the familiar bumper sticker "Are we there yet?"
Most of all, Bob enjoyed spending time with the people who loved him the most, Dolores and their three children, three grandchildren and three 'great' grandkids.
He had a wonderful sense of humor and always had a certain 'way with words,' often inventing new words that could be heard for miles if something would break down.
Among his favorite pastimes were fishing at the family cabin on Papoose Creek, deer and elk hunting, four-wheeling, sightseeing and metal detecting. Bob was an avid photographer and had his own processing dark room for many years. He also served as a proud member of the Masonic Lodge in Meeker.
He is preceded in death by his father, William F. Kracht; mother Iva G. Kracht and many of his lifelong friends from Meeker.
At Bob's request, no services were planned. Cremation took place May 9, and a "Friendship remembrance" will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Cochran Memorial Chapel, in Meeker. Please stop in and sign the friendship book at your leisure. Memorial contributions can be made to the Western Colorado Sheriff's Scholarship Fund, care of Cochran Memorial Chapel.