Father Robert Krueger, 90, known as a caring pastor and an advocate for workers, died April 28. There will be a vigil at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, both at St. Andrew Church in Northeast Portland. A reception will follow the Mass.

Jean Eilers, a longtime member of St. Andrew Parish, looked around at the faces of fellow worshippers on the day after the former pastor died.

“I thought, every person in that church would have a Father Bob story,” Eilers said. “There was no other priest who ever made them feel so respected and valuable. He was so present.”

Father Krueger, was born Jan. 20, 1929, in Portland to Lucille Fraley Krueger and William Krueger Jr. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Angel Seminary in 1952, going on to his major seminary studies at St. Edward Seminary in Kenmore, Washington.

In 1997, Father Krueger took part in a protest of union steel workers in downtown Portland and was arrested. He would say that being arrested was unpleasant but that he went through with it.

“As a Catholic priest and the pastor of many workers I stand with the Church in its teaching, rooted firmly in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which strongly upholds the dignity of workers and their right to organize and collectively bargain with their employer in good faith negotiations,” he wrote to the mill owner. “Created in the image of God, the human person exceeds in value all else that exists in the world and is to live a dignified life.”

“He really was a wonderful priest and human being,” said longtime friend Msgr. Chuck Lienert. The two priests had lunch together daily for a period when they were both at St. Francis Parish in Southeast Portland.

“He lived simply,” Msgr. Lienert said. “He read theology and thought about theology his whole life and thought about the Gospel and what it meant to be a disciple.”

Msgr. Lienert said that Father Krueger was admired for his dedication to the social mission of the church and for being close to the lives of everyday people.

Father Krueger, known for always driving an old car, was ordained in 1956, serving as assistant pastor at St. Joseph and St. Therese in Northeast Portland as his first priestly assignment. He was then assistant director of St. Mary’s Boys Home (1956-57) and a teacher at Central Catholic (1957-73) while also serving as chaplain at the Marylhurst Provincial House (1957-58 and 1967-72), and a resident at Queen of Peace Parish in North Portland (1958-66). Father Krueger did post-graduate work at Gonzaga University (1960-66).

He was pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Northeast Portland (1973-81), Sacred Heart Parish in Medford (1981-90) and St. Andrew Parish in Northeast Portland (1990-2004).

Father Krueger retired in 2004, but he didn’t stop working. He served as priest moderator at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Southeast Portland, with Valerie Chapman serving as pastoral administrator, from 2004 to 2018.

“The parishioners he worked with just adored him,” Msgr. Lienert said. “He tackled so many of their problems to help them, whether it was labor or racism or whether it was being accepted if you are gay or lesbian.”

Father Krueger was buried in the priests' section at Mount Calvary Cemetery.