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Local Goodwill executive dies of COVID-19 complications

Local Goodwill executive dies of COVID-19 complications
Posted at 4:26 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 11:57:22-05

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) - Family members are grieving the loss of a beloved La Mesa grandfather and local Goodwill executive to COVID-19.

Bob Kruse first started feeling sick in early December.

"He had a very high fever, 103 degrees. Violent chills, couldn't get warm," said his daughter, Heather Stiles.

Stiles says soon after, he tested positive for COVID-19. On December 11th, breathing issues sent him to the ER. At the hospital, his condition slowly got worse.

"He didn't go into the ICU on the ventilator until Christmas morning," said Stiles.

On Christmas, Kruse suffered a heart attack and never woke up. Last week, he was taken off life support. The grandfather of four and longtime fixture at the local Goodwill passed away at the age of 62.

"All of us are really struggling. Just feels surreal," said Stiles.

Stiles says her dad was kind and had a huge heart. His phone was always ringing.

"He was the person you called when you needed help," said Stiles.

34 years ago, Kruse started at the Goodwill, helping load donations into trucks.

He worked his way up, becoming the Director of Facilities in 2007, helping oversee more than 50 locations in the county.

"He was, loyal, dedicated and good man ... He loved the mission and the people," said Toni Giffin, CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Diego County.

Kruse worked throughout the pandemic. Stiles say Kruse, a cancer survivor, was diligent about wearing a mask and taking precautions, and doesn't know where he contracted the virus.

"Breaks my heart to see people not taking it seriously. Look or for each other. Wear a mask to protect others from what you may not know you have," said Stiles.

A Gofundme campaign has been started to help the family with medical and burial expenses.