Alumni Spotlight: Larry Krubsack, '04

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 8:05:00 PM

Lutheran religious studies alumnus appreciates a lifetime of Catholic influences

Alumnus Larry Krubsack’s Wisconsin roots date back to 1843 when his ancestors settled as one of 15 families to found what is now the City of Watertown. With them, they brought their Lutheran faith, established in 1847 as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Proud of those roots, Krubsack continues to follow the faith of his ancestors. Having attended Lutheran parochial elementary and high schools, he went on to serve as an officer at his congregation and now serves as board chair for the Concordia Bible Institute at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis.

Intertwined with his Lutheran roots are Catholic influences, including people and institutions like Stritch that supported him on a journey defined by a seven-year stint in the Army Reserves during the Vietnam War, a bachelor’s and master’s degree, a successful international business, international travels, and caregiver duties.


“I’ve been blessed in my life to have the Catholic tradition available to me for the right reasons,” said Krubsack, noting he earned his master’s degree in religious studies from Stritch and his bachelor’s in finance from Marquette University. “And that’s just emboldened me and comforted me and taught me how to do good for others. …And I’m grateful I’ve been educated in both traditions.”

Among his earliest connections to the Catholic Church, Krubsack remembers taking a risk by befriending a Catholic neighbor boy at a time when Lutherans and Catholics rarely associated with each other. Today, he counts many Catholics among his influences and professional colleagues, including Stritch professor emerita Sister Coletta Dunn and Religious Studies professor Dr. Dan DiDomizio, who, along with the Rev. Dr. Steven Kuhl, a Stritch associate professor and Lutheran minister, guided him through his master’s program in religious studies in the mid-2000s.

“Cardinal Stritch is truly an ecumenical program and I really liked that,” said Krubsack, who completed his degree in 2004. “There were Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics, and it was truly ecumenical in classes that I was in. We, as united Christians, could go out and do good things in the world in advancing the Lord’s Kingdom.”

Krubsack’s desire to pursue his master’s degree in theology/religious studies grew from an interest in church history that initially was kindled during several visits to Christ Church in Oxford, England. In 2001, he began searching for an online program through a local Lutheran college or an LCMS seminary, as he needed to remain in southeastern Wisconsin to continue providing care for his father. Upon realizing no such program existed, his wife, Judy, suggested he expand his research to include Catholic institutions since he earned his undergraduate degree at a Catholic university. That’s when he discovered Stritch.

However, he admits he hesitated to enroll at Stritch upon discovering the master’s in religious studies degree, even after Sister Coletta assured him they could tailor the program to incorporate the church history elements he sought. With his heart set on an online program, Krubsack didn’t relish the thought of sitting in a classroom desk for hours at a time. But then a phone call from Sister Coletta changed his mind. Charmed by her voice and attempts to encourage him, he decided to give it a try.

“I told my wife, if nothing else I’ve got to go down and meet this lady, and go to one class,” Krubsack said.

Two-and-a-half years later, Krubsack graduated, writing his thesis on “The Relevance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther’s Contextual Theology in the 21st Century.” He felt grateful to Sister Coletta and DiDomizio for the extra nudges they gave him as he prepared for his oral defense, especially since the preparation coincided with his caregiving duties during his father’s final months of life. Five days after his father’s death, he successfully took his oral and written exams.

Prior to enrolling in his master’s degree program in his mid-50s, Krubsack owned a manufacturing firm, which fulfilled his lifelong goal of owning a business. At age 31, he found the insolvent firm, purchased the operating assets, and revived it, eventually offering newly patented products while extending the life cycle for existing products under the new name CAMDEC Corp.

“Many of my uncles and grandparents on both sides were businessmen,” Krubsack said. “So even in high school, I envisioned I’d try to go on and own a business of some kind.”

Having worked at a similar firm starting at age 19 as a receiving clerk, he eventually became the co-general manager there and gained the experience he needed to become a business owner.

“CAMDEC was blessed and it grew, and we began to ship some of our products internationally,” said Krubsack, noting they worked with clients on five continents before selling the business in 2001.

Krubsack’s sense of satisfaction with the business and his professional work hinged not only on the growth of his company, but also on the personal connections he intentionally made with those who worked at CAMDEC. He made special efforts to get to know everyone by name, personally handing out paychecks and making himself accessible to employees as they confronted myriad personal issues.

“It’s the same principle put forth by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi down there at Cardinal Stritch: you need to be involved in the community,” Krubsack said. “Well, my community was the factory. And so I just listened, got involved in all kinds of human needs from court cases to divorce cases to children who were born with difficulties and needed to find surgeons. So it ended up that on Fridays, I’d just schedule everybody who had something to share, and I would get in there and sit and listen.”

Throughout all these endeavors, Krubsack shared the ups and downs with Judy, his wife of 46 years. The two met in high school and began dating following graduation. After staying home to raise their two daughters, Judy served as vice president of CAMDEC and traveled extensively with Krubsack as they served clients and expanded their business throughout Britain, central Europe, and Scandinavia. Together, they also founded an animal sanctuary in Columbia County, which they developed and sold in 2006.

Today, Krubsack is active in the management of a privately held equity LLC company, established after the sale of his corporation, and also with his duties at the Concordia Bible Institute. Aside from that, he is content to sit back and follow where God might lead him next.