Former two-term Sen. Lowen Kruse of Omaha, a retired Methodist pastor who was engaged in peace and social justice issues outside the Legislature, died Friday.

Kruse, 88, was first elected to the Legislature in 2000 and ultimately became vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Born on a farm near Boelus in 1929, he was a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University and later served on the university's board of trustees.

Kruse was a pastor in Buffalo, Custer and Douglas counties.

During his years in the Legislature, he was an advocate for increased restrictions on underage drinking and increased penalties for drunken driving.  

Kruse was active in Nebraskans for Peace and Omaha Together One Community, organizations that reflected his commitment to issues of peace and racial justice, including immigrant rights and concerns.