Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy 98th Birthday, Anna Cottam Hatch Cramer (1913-1996)!

Anna Hatch was born in Salt Lake to Frank and Lottie, third of their nine children. The Hatch family moved to Scipio when she was young, and in high school Anna had to ride a school bus to Fillmore, a daily fifty-mile trip.

Hatch siblings, Anna in front

Hatch kids, Anna middle back by Lottie
Following high school, Anna entered nurse training at LDS Hospital, and after graduation she worked for a medical practice and then as a public health nurse in Ephraim and Manti, Utah.  She traveled many solitary miles of isolated Utah farmland, delivering babies, and holding polio victims as they died.

In 1941, Anna went to New York City to receive advanced training at Columbia.  She lived with her sister Mary, a librarian at the New York City Public Library, and they helped finance their other siblings through school.

Anna then moved to San Francisco, where she was swept off her feet by the romantic widower, Captain Cramer.  After a whirlwind courtship, they married in the Salt Lake Temple. Anna adored Wally. They honeymooned by traveling to Washington DC, where they lived for three months before settling in San Francisco. A tour of duty in Okinawa with their two young sons was an adventure, and Anna worked as a school nurse there administering shots semi-annually to 850 kids.

engagement portrait
The Cramers settled in Mesa, Arizona, in a home I remember visiting with orange trees out back.  Anna worked as a school nurse, and in the summers as a hospital nurse. Despite her nursing credentials, she lacked an official bachelors degree, and attended night classes at Arizona State University for 13 years to earn it.

After Wally died in 1971, Anna mourned him for a quarter-century. She was a devoted grandmother to her eleven grandchildren, particularly proud of her Cramer boys.  She would visit with boxes of nuts to shell and citrus to share, and encouraged hot water cures for any ailment. Her glaucoma made her handwriting increasingly difficult to read, but she continued to faithfully keep a journal and write letters. She loved to travel, and relished trips to China, Israel, and Europe.  Anna worked faithfully in the Mesa Temple, and is responsible for much of the family history information collected on my dad's side. In her later years, Anna lived with both Lew and Joe, and we enjoyed some funny stories as she exaggerated her nursing career in memory.  Grandma loved to get in the "zipper" (jacuzzi)!

Aspen Grove 1982

strong Dan and Benner!

71st birthday (baby Joe)

I miss you, Grandma!  I would give you a chance to see your great-grandchildren, and attend Education Week together.
the first time I saw my grandma
the last time I saw her


  1. love it!! great pictures. didn't know about getting her bachelor's degree

  2. wow joe looks just like he could be one of his own kids.

  3. This was great anita. Learned things on her birthday I didn't even know!

  4. She was 60 on the day when Mom and I were married 38 years ago tomorrow, which seemed pretty old to us! It's still so funny to hear our grandchildren call Mom "Grandmother Cramer" because I always think of my own mother.

  5. Great post Anita! I wish some of those awesome Cramer Family reunion shirts were still around.

    PS Ben looks like Zach in that picture with Dan

  6. Sounds like a great lady. Wish I could have met her.

  7. thank you. She was fair more beautiful than she ever knew or felt. I had not seen some of the photos for some time. thank you again and again.
    Joe G

  8. For some reason, this one made me cry. You do such a nice job on these.