Kenneth Edwin Kramer, 96, Manchester (formerly of Strawberry Point), passed away Oct. 28, 2020 surrounded by his children – Bruce Alan (and Sarah Ruth), Jan Kenneth and Karla Mary Grauberger – at the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester.
The family is hoping to be able to have a public Celebration of Life service for both Kenneth and Mary in the Spring of 2021 at the Methodist Church in Strawberry Point, with interment to follow in the Strawberry Point Cemetery.
Kenneth was born Oct. 2, 1924 to Carl and Lucy (Bassett) Kramer on the John and Elizabeth Kramer farm five miles east of Strawberry Point. He attended the Kramer School No. 3 in Lodomillo Township located on the corner of the family farm, ¼ mile east of their farm house. He graduated from the Strawberry Point High School in 1941. He was very active in FFA – on numerous judging teams, and help organized many fund raisers that provided funds for numerous chapter field trips to many states, from Wyoming and the Dakotas in the West to Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan in the East. He was the chapter vice president his senior year. Kenneth enjoyed playing the clarinet in band, working his way up to first and solo clarinet by his senior year. He helped form a small German band called the “Hungry Five” – two clarinets, a trombone, trumpet and tuba – that toured Iowa, including VA facilities.
After high school Kenneth continued farming with his parents; and also worked a short time in the Cedar Rapids Wilson Packing plant (Dec ’44- Mar ’45), before returning to the family farm to help with hogs farrowing. He was active with Clayton County RYP (Rural Young People), a 4-H leader for many years, and later served many years on the Clayton County Extension Council board. His Methodist Church youth group (MYF) involvement took him to Des Moines in the mid-1940s where he met the young Billy Graham leading one of his first Youth for Christ (YFC) crusades.
On March 23, 1950, Kenneth was united in marriage to Mary Emma Stoner in the Strawberry Point Methodist Church. They first lived on and helped farm Kenneth’s parents’ farm, but later moved to Mary’s parents’ (Stoner) farm north of Strawberry Point, which they later purchased. Their very astute farm and financial planning allowed for annual family vacations across the United States.
Following “retirement” from farming and sale of their farm, Kenneth and Mary moved to Manchester. They enjoyed summer travels in their RV, and spent their winters in southern Texas for several years. They also enjoyed numerous farm tours around the United States, Canada and Mexico; as well as numerous international farm tours and personal travels to many counties.
Kenneth was blessed to be able enjoy much of this past August safely travelling in his “old” 2004 Southwind RV with Bruce and Sarah to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Washington and Utah – two of which he had never met before. He proudly shared those precious family memories and pictures upon returning to his Iowa nursing home. Sadly, he had just finished his required two-week in-room quarantine (from being outside the facility), when Covid-19 entered the nursing home. He became very ill, tested positive, and was rushed to the hospital Oct. 2, his 96th birthday.
Kenneth is survived, by his younger brother, Russell (Rozella) Kramer, of Davenport, brother-in-law, Alvin Scott, of Strawberry Point; his children: Bruce Alan (Sarah) Kramer, of Fairborn, Ohio, Jan Kenneth Kramer, of Des Moines and Karla Mary (Ryan) Grauberger, of Cedar Rapids; six grandchildren, Larry (Sarah Beth) Kramer of Pleasant View Utah, Laura (Ian) Towle on Bainbridge Island Wash., Michelle — “Mitch” — Grauberger of Minneapolis Minn., Michael, Jessica and Daniel Grauberger, of Cedar Rapids; and three great-grandchildren, Addilyn and Emerson Kramer, of Pleasant View, Utah and Keaton Towle, of Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Kenneth was preceded in death by an infant brother, Robert Dean, his parents, his older sister, Esther, and his loving wife, Mary, of 70 years, who passed April 3, 2020.