Donald L. Cramer, age 83 of Manhattan, passed away on Thursday, December 5, 2019, at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. Don’s life ended the way it was lived, with good friends near at hand and, as always, with the love of his family.
Don was born on March 19, 1936 in Netawaka KS, the oldest of Fred and Inez Cramer’s three children. Don graduated from Holton High School in 1954, where he was a member of the Wildcat track and football teams. As a young man he was known for his strength, nicknamed “Hercules” by his co-workers.
If there ever was a “Jack of all Trades”, it would have been Don. He began working at age 14 and worked his last part-time job in his late-seventies. He had a great work ethic and was willing to work any job and any amount of overtime to take care of his growing family. Don went to aviation school, served in HQ 1st Bn, 139th Field Artillery Indiana National Guard, was a brakeman on the railroad, built truck transmissions, worked in sales, construction, a meat locker, the street department, and worked on the bottling floor at Meadow Gold. He was a member of 3 different labor unions.
Don’s travels led him from Kansas to Indiana where he met the mother of his children. Don married Barbara Mason in Princeton, Indiana, in 1958. They raised a passel of kids and eventually moved back to Holton, Kansas to live near Don’s parents. Don shared his love of reading, Sunday drives, home cooked meals, and the fellowship of church with his children. Don enjoyed listening to country music and loved trying out new restaurants with family and friends.
Don was a lively fun-loving guy who was well liked by the people he met in his lifetime. Don and Barbara later divorced, but he remained life-long friends with her brother Gene, and was always well liked by her family. Don was a “Foster Grandparent” for the Junction City, Kansas school district until he was 78 years old. He particularly enjoyed and was loved by the ornery ones, probably because he was ornery himself.
Survivors include eight children, David Cramer (Ann-Mary) of Manhattan, Cynthia Stoudt of Blue Rapids, Catherine Johnson (Kent) of Rapid City, SD, Amy Taphorn (David) of Manhattan, LouJuana Stryker of Herkimer, Anna Johnson (Michael) of Enterprise, Alabama, Gerry Cramer of Bali Indonesia, and Marion Cramer of Kansas City; sixteen grandchildren, and eighteen great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Mary Boos & Bonnie Ridge. He will be missed by his family as well as his many friends.
Preceding in death were his parents, Fred and Inez Cramer, son-in-law Greg Stoudt, and a great-grand daughter.
Funeral services are at 11:00 am, Monday, December 9, 2019, at Terry-Christie Funeral Home in Waterville, with Pastor Jeremy Henderson officiating. Burial is at Prospect Hill Cemetery, north of Blue Rapids.
Memorials are suggested to Flint Hills Bread Basket and may be sent in care of Terry-Christie Funeral Home at PO Box 61, Waterville, Kansas 66548.
Condolences may be left at www.terrychristiefuneralhome.com.