By Rick Palsgrove
A police officer who was a friendly, familiar face at Groveport Madison Local Schools in the 1970s has passed away.
Groveport Police Lt. Richard Raymond (Ray) Kruedelbach, 74, recently died in California of kidney failure after a long illness, according to Groveport police officer and department historian Ernie Bell.
Kruedelbach served as the school resource police officer at Groveport Madison from 1973-82. Bell said Kruedelbach was also the district truant officer and served as a detective investigating juvenile cases.
“All the students and staff called him Officer K,” said Bell. “I worked with Ray the first three years of my career and I remember him as always wearing a sport coat and tie and he always had a lit pipe. He was the guy all of us young officers asked for advice on situations or a case we were working on. He was in charge of security at the football games and was always very well respected by students, staff and parents.”
According to Kruedelbach’s daughter, Amber Garcia, many former students have sent her messages saying how they were inspired by her father and that one student became a police officer because of Kruedelbach’s influence.
Bell said Kruedelbach joined the Groveport Police in 1968 and left in 1982. In 1978, he was named to the board of trustees of the Southeast Community Mental Health and Retardation Center, which provided counseling and treatment services for the mentally ill or handicapped, suicide prevention assistance, and assisted rape victims and those having problems with drugs or alcohol abuse. He was an advisor to the Ohio Drug Studies Institute and served on the Regional Planning Unit Sub-Committee on Juvenile Delinquency.
Kruedelbach retired to Pine Island, Fla., before moving to La Mesa, Calif., to be near his family, especially his grandchildren. The remembrance ceremony and burial took place in La Mesa on Nov. 2.