The pride and joy for the late Eldon Kratzke, a native of Pelican Rapids, was his 1959 Edsel.
This classic car was displayed near the south entrance to First Lutheran Church, Fergus Falls, when people arrived on June 28 to attend Eldon’s funeral.
Kratzke, 90, died on June 18. The Pelican Rapids area native, Concordia College graduate, former Marine and retired Otter Tail Power Company payroll manager truly treasured his Edsel.
The 1959 classic vehicle was a honeymoon car for Eldon and his wife, Margaret. She is a retired Fergus Falls Community College (M State) businss instructor.
Over the years Eldon cared for his Edsel meticulously. That was his nature, also reflected in his work at Fergus Falls-based Otter Tail Power with a great attention to detail.
His college friend, Clark Tufte, spoke at Eldon’s funeral and said that Eldon set the standard for what a role model should be.
People who attended his funeral and who knew Eldon over the years were endeared by his modesty and friendly personality.
They also were well aware of his love for the Edsel. This vehicle was marketed by Ford Motor Company for only three years, from 1958 to 1960. That’s one reason this car is a classic.
Ford Motor decided on the name Edsel, son of the company’s founder, Henry Ford.
Among the Edsel features were Teletouch transmission, self-adjusting brakes and electron hood release.
Several Edsel models were available, and one of the most popular among the vehicles was the Edsel Ranger four-door sedan. The Kratzke vehicle is the Edsel Ranger.
Son Mark Kratzke and his wife, Carol, drove the Edsel on their wedding day in 2005. Today they reside with their two children in Hawley.
The Edsel vehicle was a victim of some tough economic times in the late 1950s that also led to the demise of other big brands such as DeSoto, Hudson, Nash and Packard. Buyers went more and more to economy cars.
Edsels are valuable today because most vehicles from the chrome and fins era are increasing in value. “The more chrome and bigger the fins, the better,” said one collector.
(This story appeared in the July 3 issue of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, as part of Tom Hintgen’s weekly column.)
Classic cars in the park is July 10 in Pelican Rapids
Classic cars—maybe even a rare Edsel, like the late Eldon Kratzke’s; or a Packard, Nash or DeSota—could be on display when the Lake Country Cruisers host the annual car show July 10.
The Cruisers will host the 22nd annual show a from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sherin Park grounds; near the Trinity Lutheran Church parking lot, on Highwayd 108 East in Pelican Rapids.
The show was cancelled during the pandemic last year, but the club members are firing up their engines for 2021.
Awards will be presented at 12:30 p.m.