Kyle Layman Cruze

May 24, 1933March 10, 2018

Kyle Layman “Buddy” Cruze went home to be with Jesus Saturday, March 10, 2018. He was 84. He graduated from East High School in 1952 where he excelled in athletics, setting many school and state records. He went on to the University of Tennessee where he graduated in Civil Engineering in 1956 and was also named a First Team All-American in football. Buddy’s favorite past time was coaching and following his kids and grandkids in youth sports. Anyone who was ever coached, mentored, or simply encountered Buddy was made to feel valued, cared for and special. He loved many people and many people loved him. He was successful in business as well, founding a computer software business in 1978 that still operates today. He is preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Charlotte Ketchersid Cruze; his parents, Carl Layman and Edith Dykes Cruze; and sister, Bobbie Cruze Wilson. He is survived by his sister, Cartha Lynn (Cruze) Turner and brother-in-law Gaylon Eugene Wilson. Additionally, by his four children and spouses, Debbye Cruze Wright (Blair), Kyle Buddy Cruze (Helen), Guille Barger Cruze (Carol), Kay Cruze Smith (Randy), all of Knoxville, TN. His fourteen grandchildren, Ben and Natalie Wright, both of Knoxville, Katie Wright Trenda (Dan), Buffalo, NY, Kyle Cruze Jr. (Kristen), and Winston Cruze (Rachel), both of Nashville, TN, Charlotte Cruze Foster (Chris), Knoxville, TN, Matthew Cruze (Sarah), Huntsville, AL, Meggie Cruze Staykov (Stayko), Nashville, TN, Kelsey Cruze Reese (Josh), Knoxville, TN, Rachel Cruze, Nashville, TN, Andrew Smith (Caroline), Knoxville, TN, Ellen Smith, Chattanooga, TN, Brady and Jason Smith, Knoxville, TN; great-grandchildren, Jack, Will, Audrey and Luke Trenda, Eli, Jude and Addison Cruze, Amelia and Caroline Cruze, Svea, Evelyn and Mary Helen Foster, Carter, Nathan and Lilly Cruze; Henry, Vivi and Oliver Staykov and Hank Smith. Call of Convenience will be Wednesday, March 14, 2018 from 12:00 pm until 6:00 pm at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Highway. A graveside service will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery at 11:30 am on Thursday, March 15, 2018. The family will have a Celebration of Life with a receiving of friends to follow on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm at Fellowship Church, 8000 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Young Life of Knoxville,; Deeper Still,; or S.T.A.R., Condolences may be offered at


  • Cartha Lynn Cruze Turner, Sister
  • Gaylon Eugene Wilson, Brother-in-law
  • Debbye Cruze (Blair) Wright, Daughter
  • Kyle Buddy (Helen) Cruze, Son
  • Guille Barger (Carol) Cruze, Son
  • Kay Cruze (Randy) Smith, Daughter
  • Fourteen Grandchildren, Ben and Natalie Wright, Katie Wright Trenda (Dan), Kyle Cruze Jr. (Kristen), Winston Cruze (Rachel), Charlotte Cruze Foster (Chris), Matthew Cruze (Sarah), Meggie Cruze Staykov (Stayko), Kelsey Cruze Reese (Josh), Rachel Cruze, Andrew Smith (Caroline), Ellen Smith, Brady and Jason Smith.
    Great-Grandchildren, Jack, Will, Audrey and Luke Trenda; Eli, Jude and Addison Cruze; Amelia and Caroline Cruze; Svea, Evelyn and Mary Helen Foster; Carter, Nathan and Lilly Cruze; Henry, Vivi and Oliver Staykov; Hank Smith


  • Call at Convenience Wednesday, March 14, 2018
  • Graveside Service Thursday, March 15, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Thursday, March 15, 2018
  • Visitation Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kyle Layman Cruze

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Carolyn. (Dycus) Williams

March 19, 2018

From the fall of 1941 until the summer of 1953 my family were neighbors with Buddy and his family, living only five houses apart. His younger sister, Cartha Lynn, and I with other neighborhood friends skated up and down McCalla Avenue. All of us thought Buddy was the
most handsome boy around, but being four or five years older than most of us,he never gave any
of us a thought.....but always answered our silliness with a smile and kind answers.
Buddy was a great example to all of our classmates at East High, of a godly young man full of
integrity, growing in wisdom of Christ thru Young Life and other christian organizations.
So very thankful to have known the Cruze family as my brothers and I were growing up. And
again later as Buddy and Charlotte were married and raised their own four children, were with
them in the same church for several years. Buddy and Charlotte both leave a GREAT legacy for
their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren ! My condolences to all the family !!!

Chris Wilson

March 15, 2018

I remember Buddy most of all for his big smile and welcoming voice..he did seem to have that gift of making each person fee l very "attended to" you know? if that's really a word..! The times I spoke with him ...which were not that many really..I recall feeling that! He mus tve been a wonderful Dad!
Chris Wright Wilson,
Sister of Blair Wright

David "Little Buddy" Wilson

March 15, 2018

To all my cousins, I love you and miss Aunt Charlotte and Big Buddy. I was the original "Little Buddy," as your father and mother met when Big Buddy came to the hospital to see me and my mother, Aunt Bobbye, when I was born. That is when he met my mother's nurse, Charlotte. Growing up we were more like brothers and sisters than cousins. I'll be holding you in my prayers.

Patsy Riggins

March 14, 2018

The Cruze Kids lit up East High School with their wonderful smiles. I know that my late husband, Bill Riggins, and Buddy have organized a basketball game in heaven possibly under the direction of Buford Bible. Bill, as well as many on the young men in east Knoxville, looked up to Buddy as an example in so many ways. My sincere sympathy to Cartha Lynn and all the family.
Patsy Ressler Riggins

David Ogle

March 13, 2018

I didn't know Buddy that well but the times that we were together you would not have known that. He treated others like he knew them and made you feel special. The last meeting with him was at a dinner banquet for Young Life of Loudon County.
I saw what a good Christian man Buddy was. He also graduated from East High School where I graduated in 1964.
To the family - God bless and comfort you,
David Ogle

Phil “Conrad” Andrews

March 13, 2018

“Big Buddy” was one of my heroes and all-time favorite people - he was always “larger than life” and had a great sense of humor - fortunately got to see him and Charlotte several times at high school basketball games and at several other places in town over the last few years - was able to tell him how much he and Charlotte meant to me as a young man and how much I loved them both dearly - a really good Christian man and great mentor/friend to me....

Jim Lemme

March 13, 2018

One of the first questions Buddy asked me during my job interview was "Where do you go to church?". From then on I knew Cruze Computers was a unique company run by a strong Christian man. Whenever he would encounter me at work he would always ask "What do you know good?". He always wanted some positive news before getting into the problems. I think he looked at life that way, too. Buddy was a unique individual who will surely be missed.

Gary Owens

March 13, 2018

I grew up in East Knoxville and knew Buddy . Especially as an athlete at East High and UT. He was a tremendous athlete and being interested in athletics myself, he was like a role model to those us who were younger. More than anything he was a good Christian man with a wonderful family.