Connie Kreeger is mourning her son's death, but her voice lightens when she talks about him.
"I love to talk about him," she said. "He was just one terrific person, a very loving and good son."
Connie Kreeger's son, James R. Kreeger, 47, of Spring Garden Township, was killed Sunday in an early morning crash in the 2600 block of Indian Rock Dam Road in West Manchester Township.
James Kreeger, who was wearing a seatbelt, was the sole occupant of the vehicle, said York County Deputy Coroner Onalee Gilbert. West Manchester Township Police could not be reached for comment.
Besides his mother, he leaves his father, James K. Kreeger Jr. and a brother, Douglas Kreeger of Hallam.
Born Sept. 22, 1965, James R. Kreeger grew up in Windsor Township, graduated from Red Lion Area High School in 1983 and studied music two years at Juniata College in Huntingdon County before entering the U.S. Army.
During his military career, he became a pilot, flying Huey, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters in Germany, Kosovo and St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
He returned to the U.S. in the 1990s and received a bachelor of science degree from York College. He did flu vaccine creation work at Wyeth Ayerst Industries in Marietta, Lancaster County. He then became a local Bennett Williams Realty Realtor.
Patriotism: James R. Kreeger continued his military service in the U.S. Army National Guard at Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County and later in the Maryland National Guard. He became a major after 20 years of service.
"What I'll always remember about Jim is his patriotism and that he was very well-learned on the founding fathers and how they set up government," said Lee Kauffman, James R. Kreeger's friend since childhood. "He certainly believed in the virtues of this country."
At the time of his death, James R. Kreeger was a business manager and part owner of Freysville Limited Partnership which managed malls in Mifflinburg, Union County, and in New Jersey, his mother said.
A guitar and saxophone player, James R. Kreeger also was founder and member of local band Tramp Stamp.
"He was getting into everything," his mother said with proud laughter. "He was very imaginative and very creative. Anything he could do to make life interesting, that's what he did."
Connie Kreeger said that she, her son, and the rest of their family spent time together last month in Disney World in Florida, where James R. Kreeger bought an Alice in Wonderland
"mad hatter" hat.
He wore the hat to a Halloween party in Hanover Saturday. He was returning home from the party when he crashed his Honda Acura, his mother said.
"He was just driving too fast," she said. "That's what the police told us. I think with his lifestyle, he liked speed. He loved riding motorcycles and riding bicycles in the mountains. Luckily, he did not have his dog with him when (he crashed).
James R. Kreeger's dog, a 6-year-old female Irish setter named "Blue," was given to a family member who baby-sat the dog whenever he went out of town, Connie Kreeger said.
Friend's memories: Kauffman, 49, of York Township, said he is thankful that he and James R. Kreeger went motorcycling two weeks ago in Centre County, where they also had a belated birthday celebration for James R. Kreeger.
Kauffman said he last heard from his friend Saturday night. He thought James R. Kreeger was calling him again Sunday morning to talk about doing a road trip. Instead, he learned of his friend's death from Connie Kreeger.
"He had a pretty dynamic personality," Kauffman said. "He had something to offer everybody he came across. It was a privilege to call him a friend."