James H. Krohe

  • James H. Krohe
    James H. Krohe
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U.S. Veteran

    Well-known Springfield musician James H. Krohe died at his home on Oct. 8, 2020, at the age of 95.
    His career as a professional drummer spanned 78 years. Growing up in Beardstown (where he is fondly remembered), he started banging on his big brother’s snare drum and was a professional drummer before he was old enough to drive.
    His wartime call-up in 1943 began a 19-year career in the U.S. military. Private Krohe was very proud of his service as a mortarman in the 42nd “Rainbow” Division in France and Germany in World War II.
    Back home after the war, Jim joined the band of the Illinois National Guard’s 44th Infantry Division and its successor outfits, serving in Illinois, California, and Washington state for 15 years, 10 of those as its conductor and unit commander.
    After he left the Guard, he worked variously as a salesman, bookkeeper, and state administrator as needs required, but he never strayed very long from music. While he made his living and his reputation as a drummer in and around Springfield, he also was a bass player, teacher, band leader, conductor, and arranger, even (occasionally) a singer and stand-up comic.
    Mr. Krohe provided musical accompaniment to performers ranging from Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Pearl Bailey, nightclub chanteuses to girls’ choirs, the latter the result of a happy twenty-year association with the good sisters of the Sacred Heart Academy. He also opened for many headliners including The Guess Who, Three Dog Night, The Fifth Dimension and the Who. He was also proud of the fact that over his career he had played in every music venue at the Illinois State Fair. He was a charter member of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, a mainstay for many years of the pit bands at Muny Opera productions, and he marched and concertized with the Springfield Municipal Band on and off for more than 30 years.
    When not on a stage, Jim was active in youth sports—as coach of the Northeast Cosmos youth soccer team and teams in the Grandview Little League, and later as a volunteer assistant with the Lanphier High School varsity soccer program. He took a coach’s athlete’s pride in his younger sons’ athletic achievements in soccer and baseball for Lanphier and Sangamon State University, but cheered for every accomplishment in every field of grandkids Justin, Kelsey, Austin, Gavin, and Madison.
    He probably loved to make people laugh more than he loved making them dance. His hopeful nature showed in his devotion to Chicago Cubs and of the University of Illinois athletic teams.  
    He survived his wife and lifelong sweetheart, Beardstown’s Dorothy L. Anderson, and his daughter Peggy Krohe, late of Springfield.
    He is survived by daughters Debbie Krohe and Susie [David] Krohe-Slaughter and sons R.G. Krohe and John Krohe (Jennifer Knepler), all of Springfield and James Krohe Jr. (Linda Davis), presently of Hinsdale, Ill.
    A memorial gathering will be held from 4 – 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23, at Staab Funeral Home in Springfield. Private graveside services will be held at Beardstown City Cemetery.
    CDC protocol shall be followed. Share stories and photos at StaabObituary.com.
    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight.