Happy Birthday, Archie!

Renowned fiddler Krout turns 100

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A Crawfordsville man known for his a-fiddlin’ and a-pickin’ becomes Montgomery County’s newest centenarian today.

Born May 13, 1922, in Montgomery County near Bal Hinch, 100-year-old Archie Krout has seen it all. From his trips around the world in the U.S. Navy during World War II to decades of touring the Midwest as a member of the Back Porch Pickers (later known as the Smartsburg Pickers), Krout said that’s all a person can do: Just keep going.

With family by his side, Krout doubled down on his motto Wednesday at Bickford Memory Care where he resides. Asked the secret to living so long by daughter and son-in-law Linda and Mike McKinnon, Krout replied, “You either do it or you don’t.”

“There’s no secret.”

As a fiddler (not a “violinist”), Krout earned more than just ribbons and trophies for his skills. He also earned the respect and admiration of musicians throughout the state, winning competitions and friends along the way. He and his band mates played everything from state fairs to fish fries.

It’s these dedicated traits to which daughter Linda now holds dear, saying anyone could take a lesson from her father’s life.

“He was always just a really hard worker. He grew up during the Depression — they’re Depression Era babies to this day. I don’t think he threw anything away. He just thought, you know, money doesn’t grow on trees. Make it work. We’re going to hold onto it because we’re going to need it later. He never really got past that,” daughter Linda said. “But he was always close to his family. He’s got one full brother who passed away many years ago, and a half brother and half sisters. It’s just an odd family.”

Lessons, in life or in music, are still available today when one encounters Krout. He is still willing to give fiddlin’ lessons to those who are interested.

“You’ve got to work at it,” he said.

The McKinnons traveled to Indiana last month from their home in North Carolina for their father’s birthday this week. They have been re-acclimating themselves to the area, but have spent much time with Krout at the extended care facility.

“We’ve been here for about six weeks kind of helping clear out his house and everything, but we’ll be heading back
to North Carolina soon,” Linda said. “We’ve been there
20 years.”

Krout suffers from dementia-related illness, but lived on his own at his home on the city’s north side until just recently.

His daughter said though the illness has put a strain on her father, he still maintains his stubborn, wisecracking ways.

“It’s hard a little bit, but on the other hand, I’m a nurse and it doesn’t surprise me. His health is failing rapidly, but at his age that’s to be expected,” Linda said. “I think when you add that to the dementia, the age and the dementia, it’s just hard.”

But whatever the future holds for Krout, the Journal Review has you covered, Archie. Happy Birthday.

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