AUBURN, IN – The founder of the Kruse International Collector Car Auction House has died at age 85. Russell W. Kruse died at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne of a massive stroke, according to the Web site In 1952, Kruse established a real estate and auction business with his father-in-law. Over the years, the company’s auction house in Auburn, about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne, has grown into one of the world’s leading collector car auction firms.

Kruse International sells more than 13,000 cars each year at events that draw crowds eager to see and bid on classic cars and every-day vehicles owned by celebrities. Those have included a 1975 Ford Escort GL that Pope John Paul II drove.

Russell W. Kruse’s survivors include his wife, four sons, two daughters, two sisters, and 22 grandchildren. Kruse will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Auburn.