Robert “Bob” Kresl couldn’t have been more modest about receiving this quarter’s Experienced American award from the Golden Link Senior Center, but the support his family, friends, and the community showed at his reception proved he was more than deserving of the special recognition. Kresl’s five kids, Michelle, Becky, Karen, Bill and Joe, were all present as well as some of his 12 grandkids, eight great-grandkids and other loved ones.
During the reception, Kresl’s daughter, Becky, said she was proud of her father who had stepped up and raised all five kids by himself. In fact, Kresl received the Parents Without Partners “Single Parent of the Year” award for the western half of the United States.
Bob grew up on a farm in Tabor, Minnesota and attended a one-room school just north of his home. When he was a teen, he pulled three small children from the back seat of a car on fire and was reminded by one of the children when they were an adult.
Kresl graduated from the Northwest School of Agriculture in Crookston and went to North Dakota State University until he was needed back at the farm. He was then drafted into the Army and was sent to Fort Riley, Kansas where he was put on the rifle team for sniper training.
During the Korean War, Kresl was stationed to Erlangen, Germany and attended training in Grafenwoehr on the gunnery range. He received “Soldier of the Month” in honor of his battalion and a “Good Conduct” medal.
In Crookston, Bob was a Land O’ Lakes supervisor, but transferred to Milaca for a short time. After learning of a gas station for sale back in Crookston, he moved his family back. Shortly after their return there was an electrical fire at the gas station and, after rebuilding, Robert’s Restaurant was born.
In 1979, Kresl made a change and purchased a franchise, and established Happy Joe’s in Crookston.
Bob Kresl is a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the American Sniper Association and was a 2018 Honor Flight participant. He was also a Polk County Historical Society board member for over 30 years and a member of the Crookston Planning Commission.