A much-decorated World War II veteran, and 1940 Hiram graduate will be awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in ceremonies Tuesday in California.
Col. (Ret.) Lester Krause Jr., 94, of Fallbrook, California, will be awarded the medal, France’s highest honor, for his exploits as a fighter pilot who flew 125 missions over France, Italy and North Africa from 1941-45. After World War II, Col. Lester stayed in the military, received a regular commission in July 1946 and became part of the new U.S. Air Force in 1947. In a career lasting almost 30 years he had positions of increasing command and staff responsibility including a three-year tour at Air Force Headquarters in Paris, France during 1963-66. Lester retired in May 1970 from the Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado in the rank of Colonel. His other military honors include two U.S. Silver Star medals and two French Croix De Guerre medals, the French Legion of Merit, the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross and six U.S. Air Medals.
In 1970, Col. Krause began a successful career as an avocado farmer in Fallbrook, California, until his full retirement in 1990.
In December 1945 Col. Krause married Marjorie Vickers, Hiram, ’42, to whom he was married almost 65 years until her passing in 2010. They had four sons: Rus, Stephen, David, and Rick. Stephen sadly was lost at age 16. Col. Krause majored in Economics at Hiram, a football player, and member of Student Senate. He and Mrs. Krause have been long time supporters of Hiram.
The Legion of Honor medal will be awarded in ceremonies January 16th in Fallbrook, California by David Martinon, Consul General of France, Los Angeles.