Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

John Kraska, General Contractor in St. Louis and Former McDonnell Douglas Superintendent, Dies at 92

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

John Kraska, General Contractor in St. Louis and Former McDonnell Douglas Superintendent, Dies at 92

Article excerpt

John Kraska seemed to have his hand in a little bit of everything his construction company renovated several area schools and terminals and concourses at Lambert Airport. He invented a "Stadium Special Sandwich," piled high with meat and steamed on a kaiser roll, at his downtown restaurant. He worked with Stan Musial to introduce Little League baseball in Poland.

Mr. Kraska died Monday (Dec. 7, 2015) at his home in Creve Coeur of congestive heart failure. He was 92.

"He was a big-picture thinker," said his son, Thomas Kraska, who started working as a teenager for his father's general contracting business, K&S Associates, Inc., and is now president. "He always looked at trends. He was usually way ahead of his time in the thinking process."

Mr. Kraska grew up on a farm outside of Danbury, Conn., and served as an Air Force fighter pilot in World War II. After the war he moved to St. Louis and took a job at McDonnell Douglas. He worked there for 33 years, and eventually became a plant superintendent in charge of machined parts production.

He fought successfully on behalf of retired McDonnell employees to maintain their health benefits. "You're only as good as the people down under," he told the Post-Dispatch in 1995, expressing concern as to why the company's leaders could make millions and not afford to take care of its retirees.

In 1969, while he worked at McDonnell Douglas, he founded Points West Food Ranch Deli at Market and Seventh Streets downtown, where Kiener Plaza is today. The "Stadium Special Sandwich" was a kaiser roll piled with corned beef, pastrami, roast beef and Swiss cheese and cost $1.50, a big expense back then. "It is a meal in itself," he'd say.

The sandwich became a favorite with customers, including St. Louis Cardinal baseball and football players.

Three years later, he founded K&S Associates Inc. …

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