ARTHUR KRAMER; PUGET POWER ENGINEER, WRITER AND FAMILY MAN: Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice
Seattle Times, The (WA) - October 23, 1992
Deceased Name: ARTHUR KRAMER; PUGET POWER ENGINEER, WRITER AND FAMILY MAN
Arthur Kramer's earliest memories were of his mother singing hymns as she lit the early morning fire in the family's farm home outside of Ritzville.
Such a scene might have foreshadowed Mr. Kramer's own long and varied life.
Like his mother, the late Maria Kramer, Mr. Kramer loved to sing hymns and was still a member of the Magnolia Presbyterian Church choir at the time of his death last Saturday at the age of 84.
He also was a doer, lighting his own fires for others as a volunteer, family man and longtime employee of Puget Power.
Mr. Kramer's daughter, Muriel Nelson of Federal Way, said her father asked that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Village
Blacksmith," be read at his memorial service this Sunday.
It contains a passage that she said summed up her father's approach to life:
"Each morning sees some task begin,
"Each evening sees it close;
"Something attempted, something done,
"Has earned a night's repose."
Nelson said her father, an electrical engineer by training, liked to take care of things - "do them well and move on."
He retired as a right-of-way agent for Puget Power in Olympia in 1973. He was a cheerful individual who used his sense of humor to deal with sometimes difficult situations when he was trying to acquire rights of way for building power lines or trimming trees, said Nelson.
After retirement, he plunged into writing family histories, as well as a book on Puget Power titled "Among The Livewires." He was working on a 100-year history of the University of Washington College of Engineering when he died of cancer at his Magnolia home.
Nelson's not quite sure how Mr. Kramer developed his penchant for writing. But she recalled that he used to make up "Tom Thumb" stories for her brother and her when they were young, using his thumb as the pretend-hero of his stories.
He also worked as advertising director for Puget Power, writing copy for the company, according to Nelson and Puget Power spokesman Bill Seil.
Mr. Kramer's parents were Germans from Russia, living in a village along the Volga River, said Nelson. Mr. Kramer grew up speaking German at home until he entered the public schools.
When Mr. Kramer, the youngest of nine children, was only 8 months old, his father, Heinrich Kramer, died. When Mr. Kramer was 3, the family farmhouse burned down. While friends and neighbors, many from Russia, raced to rebuild the house before winter set in, the family stayed in the granary, said Nelson. Mr. Kramer vividly remembered life on the farm, especially the dozen horses the family used to plow the fields: how they all had to work together and how the driver had to understand the relationship among all the horses to get the job done well.
Mr. Kramer moved to Seattle his senior year of high school and graduated from Roosevelt High School. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the UW.
Nelson said her father's interest in writing may have been further stoked by a UW professor who taught engineering students English and made them read a novel a week.
But his interests weren't limited to writing. He made cabinets and other wood items. His son, Gordon Kramer, a manager for Boeing Computer Services, dubbed Mr. Kramer "the Johnny Appleseed of handrails," said Nelson.
Gordon Kramer, who lives in Issaquah, explained that as his father grew older and less sure-footed, he became aware that many of the homes of his friends had no railings. He made and installed many handrails of wood or metal for them, said Kramer.
He also made the wooden offering plates used at Magnolia Presbyterian Church, pew racks for Bibles or hymnals, and even cabinetry for the church's 19th century organ, said the Rev. Ron Davids, church pastor.
Mr. Kramer also had a long-abiding interest in the Boy Scouts.
He served as president of the Tumwater Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and received the highest honor that can be given by a local scout council, the Silver Beaver Award.
Mr. Kramer never had the chance to be a Boy Scout himself, since there was no troop near the farm in the Ritzville area. He also had little time for activities outside the farm. But Mr. Kramer bought a Boy Scout Manual around 1918, studied it, held onto it, and passed it on to Gordon when he was old enough to be a Boy Scout.
Mr. Kramer was active in the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, working with its Greater Seattle Chapter in hosting the group's national convention here in June.
He also was active in the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Junior Achievers and Seattle Habitat for Humanity.
He was married nearly 50 years to the former Donna Hildesheim, a one-time math and science teacher, who died in 1983.
Survivors include his two children and six grandchildren: Chris Kramer of Seattle; Greg Kramer of Canby, Ore.; Erik and Anton Kramer of Issaquah; and Evan and Ryan Nelson of Federal Way.
A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at Magnolia Presbyterian Church, 3051 28th Ave. W.
The family suggests memorials to the Magnolia Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund, the Tumwater Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, or Seattle Habitat for Humanity.
Author: LEE MORIWAKI
Copyright (c) 1992 The Seattle Times
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