Baby zebra named after longtime Como Zoo volunteer who passed away

For a zebra colt at St. Paul's Como Zoo, his name "Krump" means quite a lot - all because of the man behind it.

- For a zebra colt at St. Paul's Como Zoo, his name "Krump" means quite a lot - all because of the man behind it.

Whether he was handing out pennies to kids or peppermint patties to employees, Frank Krmpotich loved everyone at the Como Zoo.

When the longtime volunteer passed away last month, the zoo made sure his legacy lives on.

Como Zoo is filled with animals of all shapes and sizes, but none mean more to Connie Krmpotich than the zoo's latest addition.

"I think it’s a funny name. It sounds fitting for a zebra," said Krmpotich.

Her husband of 62 years and Korean War veteran, Frank, volunteered at the zoo to give him something to do after a career as an electrician in the mines on the Iron Range.

"We both retired on the same day, you can't sit and look at each other and there was an ad in the paper that said ‘Como Zoo needs animal interpreters.’ So I said ‘Lets go see what it’s about,’" she said.

For more than two decades he greeted visitors and parked cars for special events.

"Every day before his shift, he'd walk around the offices with Pearson mints and say, ‘How you doing?’ Make sure everyone was ok and had a mint,’" said Susie VanBlaircom, Como Zoo Education and Conservation Curator.

When he passed away unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago, zoo employees thought what better way to honor him than by naming their newborn zebra "Krump" in his memory.

"They were going to name him Frank and I said ‘No, Krump.’ So that's what it is," said Connie Krmpotich. "It was a great honor. All I could think of was how thrilled he would have been to know that. He would have laughed."

She says her husband left behind quite the legacy.

"We had a good life. We're 84. Can't ask for more,” she said. “We did our fair share of traveling, our share of volunteering, have great kids, what else can you ask for?"

The family is also raising money to buy a bench that will have Frank's name on it. It will sit in the main entry way where he greeted visitors for 21 years.


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