Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 103rd Birthday, Lew W. M. Cramer (1908-1971)!

My redheaded grandpa was a World War II vet who loved ice cream, writing songs and poems, keeping in touch with family, and anniversaries.  
Wally grew up in Nebraska, the eighth of Joseph and Caroline Cramer's twelve children.  Most of these children were boys, and the brothers former their own basketball team and also played football.
baby Wally c. 1909

He spent time in Hawaii with the military, and then was transferred to Fort Douglas during World War II.

on honeymoon at Bryce Canyon
There Wally met and married his first wife Fay, but she died young (of rheumatic heart disease) after only four years of marriage.  Wally converted to the LDS Church while married to Fay, who was a Mormon.

Fay & Wally
In San Francisco, Wally met his beloved Anna, and they married had two sons.  

The Cramers lived in San Francisco, Okinawa, Japan, and Mesa, Arizona.  Since his military counterintelligence assignments had to be kept secret for many years after the war ended, we still don't know much of what he did!

Cramers 1967
one of Wally's songs

I have written his life history, and greatly love and admire this grandpa I never knew.  We had a wonderful 100th birthday party for him in 2008, and love the coincidence of his birthday's timing with his patriotic nature.  

party display

the 100th cake

Interestingly, Wally was one of seven brothers, and then had two sons.  I think he's pretty pleased to have eight out of eleven grandchildren be Cramer boys, who are carrying on the Cramer name with eight Cramer grandsons so far (he also has three granddaughters and eleven great-grandchildren who are female or have another surname).  I would give him a Sunday ice cream sundae bar for his birthday!


  1. Wow anita, he.sounds like a really great guy. And someone you might come from.:)

  2. Happy birthday, Dad,

    In the past (the near past) I have mourned his short life and his morbidity of his heart, his sleep apnea, etc. In reality I was feeling sorry for myself for not having a deeper relationship with him.

    Now I can only imagine how tough it must have been to be chronically sleepy, fatigued, and worried that the next pain of the chest would be a fatal heart attack.

    This change of heart on my part has truly altered history. (no, you don't have to rewrite your book) It has opened up a whole new channel of understanding and love for the man.

    I am only sorry you and your sibs and my kids did not know him in his prime.

    I love you so much and your reliving the history of our ancestors only endears me more to you and your family.

    Love, Unc joe