Tribute to Chuck Kramer

Chuck at the wheel of the motorhome

Chuck at the wheel of the motorhome, and “On the Road Again” now….

Our dear Katie Kramer peacefully passed away on July 13th, 2014 from metastatic breast cancer….  read more about this sad news here

Katie’s dear and beloved father, Chuck / Charles / Charlie Kramer, sadly and unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on Feb 21, 2013, due to heart complications.  The outpouring of support you all have shown is a testament to the positive impact he had on many lives.  May his spirit and purpose live on in each that he influenced.

We will be posting more photos and stories about Chuck here over the coming months, sharing the love he had for those around him.  Please share your thoughts below, or email us longer stories, photos, etc.

Thank you all for the incredible support during this difficult period for all.  Many have already expressed thoughts about the initial news of Chuck’s passing as well.

Please check back soon for more photos and stories, and add your memories below….

CHARLES RICHARD KRAMER age 75, passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 21, 2013. Beloved father of David Kramer of Van Nuys, California, Katie Kramer of Huntington Woods, Michigan, and Jordan (Mary) Kramer of Melbourne, Florida and grandfather to Nate Becker, Quinn Kramer and Harper Kramer. Chuck grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and spent most of his adult life in the Detroit area. He never retired from his chosen profession as a marriage counselor. His lifelong curiosity for listening to people’s stories, his compassionate heart for wanting to be of service, and his remarkable ability to make those in his life feel at the center of his universe, were all qualities that served him well in his career, his friendships and his family life. If you’d like to make a donation in honor of Charles Kramer, please visit the following: TheLifeofKatieK.com and find information on the page for Project Give-Back (a charitable organization that Katie and her father created for people undergoing cancer treatment).

Memorials for Chuck

Memorials for Chuck may be made via Project Give-Back, a charitable project, which has been a labor of love, for Katie and her dear father Chuck.

Katie’s own words

— Katie sharing some thoughts and memories about her Dad (2/26/13)

MP3 file:

WAV file (for some browsers):

Slideshow (view and comment on these photos in the gallery)

Hover mouse over pictures to get controls to pause and go back
Note: May take a minute to start showing depending on your connection speed…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What are some of your favorite memories of Chuck / Charles / Charlie?

— Please share and read stories, memories and thoughts about Chuck below!

  1. A great memory I have of Chuck was on Father’s Day last year when I was honored to tag along with Katie, Tammy and Chuck as we went on a slight road trip to St. Clair Michigan (along the St. Clair river between Harson’s Island and Port Huron). The family used to make this journey when Katie was younger, so it was fun to have dinner right along the river at River Crab (one of the Muer restaurants) while watching the freighters steam past. This was the first time I really spent much time with Chuck, and I enjoyed his stories and humor. We stopped in at the formerly swanky St. Clair Inn to see it as well, where the family had ventured to years before.

    Great fun to hear stories of the many road trips in the motorhomes, and listen in as the Kramers remembered landmarks along the route back home. It has been an honor for me to get to know Chuck so well over the last year. I am a wiser person because of him.

    Reply

  2. Chuck had a very memorable and amusing way of introducing himself to me the first time we met, which will stick in my mind forever. He will truly be missed by me and my parents.

    NW

    Reply

  3. Saundra Sandler Peck March 3, 2013 at 3:40 am

    He was my cousin, 10 years older than me and I loved him dearly. Those of us in St. Louis were the lucky ones that had the good fortune of growing up with him in our extended family unit. We always knew him as Charles and throughout his lifetime to his very last day, his “love of family” was his most precious priority and his most precious gift to all of us. From 10 years of age, an only child raised by a divorced, single, working mother, Charles’ mother Sara, depended on her many family members to help care for Charles in order for her to maintain extremely long day and evening work hours in retail sales and management. Before I was born, he spent an entire summer in 1948 with my parents in our home. His parents had just separated and he desperately needed to be heard. It was a wonderful summer for my parents and for Charles. They jokingly “adopted” him – an adoption that lasted a lifetime. As a result of spending time for many years with so many different aunts, uncles and cousins with family lunches, dinners, overnights and even helping at a cousin’s retail men’s store beginning at age13, Charles developed his unique social skills, his engaging personality and his deep commitment to family connections. Eventually, his sense of belonging compelled him to research his mother’s family immigration from Europe to St. Louis. Charles had copies made for his cousins of some of the actual family signatures written on government registry books at their boat entry on Ellis Island in 1913. Over the years, as Charles matured and as the aunts, uncles and cousins matured, quite instinctively, he became the “son” to many in the family that did not have children. He cared for and nurtured his two uncles, his mother’s brothers, who never had children and spent a lot of time with them until they died. He was always wonderfully kind and considerate to my parents. They knew how he felt about them and they in turn felt as if he was like the son they never had. One Father’s Day maybe 10 years ago, he actually purchased a plane ticket and flew my father to Detroit to spend Father’s Day just with him. He never forgot how important family was to him as a young boy growing up. And whether any of us had joyous celebrations and/or illness, divorce or sadness, Charles was there providing a comforting word with his soothing voice. He was genuine; he wanted to know all about us; he sent articles that he knew would be of interest to us and he cared. To some of us, he was like our older brother. Both of my parents died within 6 months of each other this past year. He was a terrific ‘son’ to them. He felt such love, devotion and pride for his children and grandchildren. All these wonderful memories will help through the difficult days ahead. Charles Kramer was a good man and I miss him. His sweet words warmed our hearts and touched our souls!
    Love you,
    Saundra

    Reply

    1. Saundra,

      What a beautiful tribute to my dad. On the behalf of my brothers I thank you for that. We are all still in shock, it comes in huge waves. I miss him so much. Thank you again for your lovely bio on my dad and what he meant to you. Also thanks for your purchases from the store. My dad was instrumental in helping me to live out the rest of my life with purpose and meaning. I am glad that you can share in that with us.

      Love,
      Katie

      Reply

  4. Holly Shulman March 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I can’t yet post the words of my heart, about my love for Chuck. But tonight I’ll have a moment that I know will make his spirit smile. I am taking a Claxton fruit cake out of the freezer, and when it defrosts I will heat up a cup of tea and have a slice with him. Many of you may still have your Claxton in the freezer…. if so, please join us. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Hope you enjoyed that nasty brick of what my daddy considered food…hope you did not chip a tooth. Lots of love to you..Kate

      Reply

      1. Ha. Saved a piece for you 🙂

        Reply

  5. I am writing this for Chuck, on my birthday. As I am about to step into another year of my life, I’m having a hard time picturing what it will be like without him. The past two weeks have been full of grief and sorrow and painful resistance to accepting the truth that he is gone. He leaves such a void. I miss the everyday phone calls just to check-in. The soothing voice that always assured me I was loved. He’d want me to hold on to his unwavering belief in me. He’d want me to remember his constant support and encouragement through my challenges, my triumphs, my dreams and my fears.

    Our long-term relationship survived long distance for 21 years. To say he was the love of my life, sounds trite. From the day I met him, he radiated at the epicenter of my world and defined my emotional landscape.

    In a word, Chuck was different. The most unique and independent spirit I have ever known. He was a force. Quiet, powerful, intelligent and provocative. He had the gift of making you feel that you were at the center of his world. Even strangers, who met him only once, were the beneficiaries of his unique way of being totally present with you. He was a life-long learner of people’s stories. This was his passion. A lover of biographies, both written and spoken, he needed to know what made people tick. He had the mind of a journalist, the skill of a therapist and the heart of a humanist. He was charismatic, warm and personable. He was unafraid of being direct, and intimate with people. Upon meeting you, he might shake your hand with both of his hands, and look you straight in the eye and start asking you questions. Soon you’d find yourself comfortable in conversation, and talking about you—your life and your story.

    Chuck was always was current on the news of the day – from foreign affairs to politics to business to finance. Yet he was also from another time. Not because of his age, but rather because of his soul. He had no use for a cell phone, an IPad, an Ipod, computer, or even an ATM card. He didn’t Facebook, Tweet, fax, text, or email. Yet he only about communication and connection. He wrote personal messages on Post It notes. He mailed cards and letters typed on an old manual typewriter (with a very worn out ribbon). Almost daily, he used the US postal service to send envelopes stuffed with articles that he’d read, highlighted and clipped, for his friends and relatives all over the country. Why? Because he wanted to share in what he thought was important in your life. He wanted you to know he was thinking about you. He wanted to spark the next conversation and show you that he cared. He wanted to be a part of your world.

    He was so special. He gave me glow. He’ll always be my best friend, my champion, my confidante, my adviser, my partner, my passion, and my heart. If you ever asked Chuck “What do you want?” He always had the same answer: “Peace”. So, I have to believe that he has what he wanted… now… he has peace.

    Reply

  6. dear katie, jordan, david, tammy, & holly, i will be caliing you soon. it was such a shock to me that i still haven’t fully comprehended it. i had no idea katie that you were sick. dad never mentioned it to me. i guess he didn’t want to worry me. the last time i saw him was a couple of months ago when bea passed away. myron brought him by to see me and i had told him that steven had lung cancer. he said he would be okay. that was all he said. i felt out of the loop because my voice is bad & dad couldn’t hear me well on the phone. he always ended our conversations with “i love you, sharn”, he was so kind. i remember when he invited me to detroit to see where he lived. we had such a good time. he gave me his apartment & cooked for me. he was wonderful! he slept in another apartment. i have such good memories when we were growing up. we’d go to forest park & run up and down by the fountain. on saturdays, sometimes my mom would take us to the movies downtown. charles never forgot that. he sent me articles about betty garrett who we saw with larry parks. then we went to mizzou together, that was fun. i dated some of the guys in his fraternity, & i saw him often. he was a wonderful person. i will truly miss him.
    love, sharna

    Reply

    1. Hi Sharna,
      It’s good to hear from you . Chuck did love you so, – you and all of his St. Louis family. The multi- branched tree of life that nourished him while growing up- all the Spector Aunts and Uncles and cousins- were at the very core of who he was. He talked about it, wrote about it, reminisced about it all the time. He never stopped thinking about all of you.You Sharna, are his special birthday twin and he cherished that connection. Hold onto that. Love Holly

      Reply

  7. holly, it was so good hearing from you. let”s keep in touch. thanks for your note.
    love, s

    Reply

  8. Karen Swiderski August 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I knew Chuck for more than 30 years. Although he was my counselor, he always felt more like a friend. I remember some of our sessions would consist of long walks. through the streets of Huntington Woods. He helped me a great deal over the years. I would often see him for what we would call “a tune-up”. I am so sorry for your loss. Katie, I feel as if I know you because your dad talked about you often. My daughter’s name is Katie,too. So we had that i common, as well as many other things. I will miss him and his smile. I will be making a donation to your project.

    Reply

  9. Katie wants you to listen. Listen to the music, listen to your thoughts, and listen to your heart. She is with you.

    I went to middle school with school with her at norup. We weren’t friends but I always thought she was nice.

    Now this is going to sound really weird. I had a visit from her spiriit. I had a very strong urgency/feeling to google her. I found that she has passed on. But she really wants you to know she is still
    here with you in spirit.

    Btw: She has a very strong spirit!

    Reply

Share your thoughts....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.