Chet Krause died over the weekend at the age of 92. I was traveling. My condolences to the family.
It is probably appropriate that I was on the road when he passed as no individual was more responsible for opening my eyes to the wider world than was Chet.
Even though I wrote a blog in early April that he was in a bad way, like many times previously he had bounced back again and returned to his routine of going to his office on Main Street.
The last time I had coffee with him, some of the conversation of the four of us present was about how many caregivers he was going through. He always retained a sense of humor.
The numismatic world has lost a giant.
When Chet founded Numismatic News with the Oct. 13, 1952, cover date, he was simply reaching out to other coin collectors in the same position as he was.
He lived in a rural area. Iola, Wis., was small and isolated. He was a carpenter/contractor in his day job. It was difficult for him to get to the shows and shops that existed then, yet he wanted to be an active coin collector.
Chet thought there were others out there just like him who would want to communicate with each other.
How right he was.
His paper was the founding product of what turned into a major publishing house with interests in many fields.
The business was built using all of the lessons he had learned both from construction and numismatics.
The publishing business was a success. He shared it.
He always said that he did not intend to squeeze the last nickel out of any business deal. He believed when everybody prospered, including his employees, he did as well.
In 1988 he set up an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Those of us who worked for Krause Publications became participants in this plan and indirectly, shareholders.
When the business was sold to F+W in 2002, the proceeds of the sale were distributed largely to the employees. Even before then, Chet had no financial interest in the business.
Yet the Krause name remained proudly on the numismatic division.
He did not like to be called Mr. Krause as I found out when I first addressed him as boss in 1978.
As the name of a book that was later written, he wanted to be called just plain Chet.
So Chet I called him.
I subscribed to his products as a kid, both Numismatic News and Coins Magazine. I went to work for him after college.
Through both aspects of my life in numismatics, Chet introduced me to the wider world.
Now it is time for me to pay respect as it is for others whose lives he enriched.
It is time to say thank you for a life well lived.
Thank you, Chet.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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