Steven Jarl Kraut, age 55 of Park Ridge, Illinois passed away peacefully February 24, 2020 at his daughter and son in law’s home in Raeford.

Private memorial services will be held at a later dates.

Steven was a native of Cook County, IL and was a son of the late Morris Jarl and Julianne (Olson) Kraut. 

Steven (Steve) was born to Julianne and Morris Kraut in Park Ridge, Illinois in November 1964.  He graduated from Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, Illinois in 1982. From there he continued his education at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  He graduated from Wake in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy. While Steve was at Wake Forest, he joined the Sigma Pi Fraternity, where he was treasurer for a year. After graduation Steve married Ann Richards of McCain, North Carolina in 1989.  Marrying Ann also gave Steve two daughters, Leanne and Lori. After getting married, Steve and his new family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and eventually to Nashville, Tennessee by way of Memphis. After the early stages of his professional career, Steve returned to school in 1993 pursuing a career in law at Nashville School of Law in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating at the top of his class in 1997.  While attending law school, Steve along with his partners, opened National Information Resources. Later that same year, rather than practicing law, Ann and Steve moved back to his native Chicago area to assist his father in the management of American Feeds and Livestock. While in Illinois Steve and Ann were blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Timothy and Thomas. After running the family business for some time, Steve became the Executive Director of the American Veal Association (AVA).  At the AVA Steve coordinated lobbying efforts at the US federal and state levels. He also setup and accounted for the organization’s presence at key industry trade shows and conventions. In addition to these responsibilities, Steve prepared and maintained the company’s financial records. In 2007, Steve moved on to his next venture which took him and Ann along with daughter Lori and grandsons Timothy and Thomas to the Isle of Man, an island located in the Irish Sea off the coast of England.  On the Isle of Man Steve went to work for PokerStars, at the time, the largest online poker company in the world, as Director of Corporate Affairs. In that role Steve was responsible for hiring and coordinating lobbyists. Additionally, he used his legal background to advise other departments on legal matters and the potential ramifications as to how their activities might impact the overall organization. He also served as company representative at industry related conferences and trade shows throughout his tenure.  In 2016 Steve and Ann decided to embark on a new adventure and purchased Lone Star Grill and Cantina located on Ambergris Caye in Belize, Central America. Belize is where they have since made their home, running the restaurant and enjoying Caribbean life. 

Steve has always had a wide range of interests including sports, music, food, and among other things, travel.  Steve was always an avid sports fan. He loved everything from football and baseball to cricket and boxing. He has played in many fantasy leagues over the years, having had fantasy baseball, basketball, and football teams to name a few.  He also looked forward each year to the annual “game day weekend” where he and a group of friends from all over got together for a weekend of strategy and a battle of wits. Steve had an incredible passion for music and even attended the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland….. twice.  He had an extensive album collection and was also a talented piano player, having the ability to play by ear. Steve enjoyed eating good food as well as cooking it. He was famous for his chili and barbeque recipes. He spent many hours perfecting cooking processes and BBQ sauce and rub recipes. Steve also enjoyed trivia and spent many nights with the family playing trivia games.  In addition to the family game nights Steve also enjoyed trivia night in Belize which became a weekly tradition among him and his friends. Perhaps one of Steve’s greatest passions was travel. From the traditional family Christmas’ in St. Croix to the many places he has been since, Steve has always been passionate about exploring and seeing new things. Over the years his adventurous spirit has taken him to many places including Italy, Hungary, Austria, Amsterdam, Germany, Ireland, and Prague.  He became especially fond of the Asian countries he visited, but his heart truly belonged to South Africa, more specifically Kruger National Park. Kruger National Park is 7,580 miles of a mostly untouched game preserve. Over the years, Steve and Ann visited the park nine times; whether alone or with friends or family, each trip was as unique as it was amazing. One of their favorite trips was when they took their grandsons. Kruger was beloved to Steve, and also many others, because he shared it with them.

Steve Kraut lived his life to the fullest.  Over the past few months he has said several times he has no regrets.  He said he lived his life on his terms and has seen and done so many amazing things that others will never have the opportunity to do, and for that he was grateful. 

He is survived by his wife Ann Richards Kraut; daughter Leanne Calloway and husband Steven of Raeford, daughter Lori Phillips and husband Eddie of the Isle of Man; brother, Daniel Kraut and fiancé Carmen of Spain; sister, Tamara Grassfield and husband Bob of Mundelein, IL; grandsons Timothy & Thomas and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following:

Memories Timeline


  1. Great businessman
    Great fantasy manager
    Great travel mate
    Great chili chef
    Great muso
    Great margarita maker
    Great mystery man
    Great dad and grandad
    Great buddy

    Made a mockery of “you only live once” as he lived every day to the fullest.

  2. We are saddened at the news of the passing of Steve. We have missed his presence at Lone Star. Sincere condolences to Ann and the family. May he Rest In Peace. 🙏

  3. What a wonderfully humorous, interesting man and most of all a true gentleman.. that was Steve, with his little can to hand at all times and his music blaring from his little soft top sports car as he drove into the car park every morning (and top tunes at that 😜) .. I was lucky to have had the chance to work so closely with him on occasion .. I am also so lucky to work for a company that introduced an un-worldly Isle of man girl to so many worldly folk, and who allowed me to work with so many amazing human beings and for that I’m grateful… rest easy Steve.. you were and still are a fucking legend 💔

  4. Shocking news! I’m so sad!
    Sincere Condolences to your loved ones!
    We’ll see you on the other side I trust, my fiend!
    RIP Steve! 🙏🏻

  5. Words cannot truly convey the sadness felt at Steve’s passing.
    He achieved in his blessed lifetime more than most.
    The life’s he brightened, the rooms he lit.
    The wisdom and charm, the fun and wit.
    He gave, he listened, he enhanced and enlivened.
    Rarely have I known such a polite, mild-mannered and genuine person.
    He had time for everyone, rarely will we see his like again.
    What an honour to have had you as a friend first and colleague a distant second.
    Love and heartfelt best wishes to all, especially family, at a much shared grief.

  6. I am saddened by the passing of Steve. In the short time we knew each other I am happy for the friendship we had and the time we spent together, whether it was being out & about with he & Ann, sitting at Lone Star talking with him, watching Jeopardy, or just hanging out. Ann & family, you’re in my thoughts and I send my love. I am thankful for Steve having been in my life. He is, and will continue to be, missed.

  7. Mike and I are so sorry for your loss of Steve. Gone far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Ann and family. We enjoyed our time with him very much.


    • A man who entered the lives of so many, and I am pleased to say he made some time for me, not only as a distant collegue, but a closer friend.
      He introduced the lovely lady Ann to our life, and my good thoughts go to you and your family Ann.

  8. A true original who excelled in everything he attempted. His short time in our lives was a true gift. You will be missed, Steve.

  9. What a wonderful ,loving and free soul! Lived his life here on earth to the fullest, Missed by so many and now doing all the things he loves to do free of sickness. You will be missed. Ann you have our prayers at this time, big hugs!

  10. I’m a high school buddy of Steve, but lost track of him after he married Ann. I had heard that they were living in Belize and hoped to visit him there someday. I’m sorry that “someday” will never be.

    When I heard Steve was ill, the memory that came to mind was going home with him one day after high school in Lake Forest. I was surprised by his need to take care of Danny and Tammy. Morrie was at work and Julie was in class at graduate school. Steve made a meatloaf for dinner. I was even more surprised at how much he enjoyed doing it. T-boy was a good big brother.

    I’ll catch up with him later, I hope.

    • Thank you Phillip! He was a GREAT big brother. Thank you for reminding me that I use to call him T-boy!!! T-boy is and will be missed always!

  11. Querido Dani:
    Os acompañamos en estos durísimos momentos en los que toca despedirse de alguien muy querido, tan prematuramente¡¡
    La vida no nos prepara para estos momentos, dónde la pena anida en el corazón y tan sólo el tiempo puede aliviar.
    Recibe todo nuestro cariño desde Sariego¡¡¡
    David, Alba, Iván y Marta
    Familia Diaz Pisano

  12. Ann , Greg and I are deeply saddened to hear this news I am so so sorry and I right away think of my 50th birthday when we all went downtown to Chicago before you all moved!! Steve was such a peaceful soul and a fun man our condolences and prayers to you!!

  13. To Ann, Tammy and Daniel and family,
    We are so very sorry to hear the passing of Steven Kraut. We send prayers to you all and that God will give you all the strength. Will keep all the memories I had with my friend Steven in my heart. What a great person he was to me and my family. Love Lisa and Jessica Visconti RIP Steven

  14. To Danny, Tammy, and Ann,

    I was deeply saddened to hear about Steve’s final battle with the big C and his death. We had so much fun in high school – “mischief managed” comes to mind. I got to visit him at Wake Forest his sophomore year when I was a freshman down the road. He was a true original and I hope that the memories of a life well-lived bring you comfort. My condolences to the entire family.

  15. Ann, I am so sorry about Steve’s passing. I never met him, but from just reading his obituary, I get a vivid picture of what a caring, adventurous, talented, and remarkable person he was. May wonderful memories help to sustain you and your family in this time of your grief.

  16. Kraut Family,
    My deepest condolences on the loss of such a very special person. My mother loved to tell stories of Steve and Dan running ‘Aunt Ruthie’ ragged, as little boys! She enjoyed so many family celebrations before marrying and moving to Minneapolis. I have several fond memories of him tossing me into the pool when I was a girl and recall that he had a terrific laugh! It saddens me to think of the loss you have all experienced in recent years and send prayers and love your way. My mama so dearly loved her Jarl family- her last connection to her father! I like to think that all those Jarls…are having a grand old time together once again up in Heaven!
    With Sympathy,
    Kirsten Jarl Pardun-Johannsen
    (Lois Ruth Jarl Pardun’s daughter)

  17. We are saddened by his loss, but lifted up that Steve is now pain free and in the hands of God. No doubt organizing a fantasy football league up there! Rest In Peace friend.

  18. You will be sorely missed Steve, as you have been since you left our little island to follow your dreams. A real inspiration. My sincere condolences to Ann and the family.

  19. We are sorry to hear the passing of Steven We just meet him and Ann once wisiting us in Sweden. Our son Niclas went with him to a jazz consert in Paris. We tryed to met again in Belize but that was not possible. Steven was an interesting man with lot of skills, a man that is difficult to forget.

    Ingolf and Hjördis, Andreas/Laura, Niclas
    Family in Sweden

  20. Such a great man. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting him through the world of fantasy sports. Such a kind, caring and genuine person. I always liked talking to him and hearing that calm voice of his. A true gentleman, we are all so much better to have come across him at one point or another in our lives. Blessings to the family, thank you for sharing Steve with us all through the years.


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