Nancy Cramer

Nancy Cramer

2011

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Obituary of Nancy Cramer

Nancy Rowena Cramer, 79, passed away on March 26, 2011, at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., following a short illness.She was born on July 25, 1931, on the family farm in Las Animas County, Colo., the fifth of five children born to Charles Robert Woolum and Bertha Ethel Mae Harmon. Orphaned at a young age, she lived much of her childhood with her older brother, Wayne Eugene Woolum, his wife Lucille Holdren Woolum, and Lucilleâs daughter Dicie Dee. She graduated from Kim (Colo.) High School at age 16 and began a journey through a number of colleges that culminated in a masters degree in English from Colorado State College in 1961.In 1952, she married the love of her life, Ray Charles Cramer, of Portland, Ore. The first of their three children was born in 1953 in southeastern Colorado, where the couple were then teaching high school. Moving to Californiaâs Central Valley in the mid 1950s, they added two daughters. After nearly 50 years in California, Dr. and Mrs. Cramer moved to West Virginia in 2002 to share a home with their daughter and son-in-law.Mrs. Cramerâs wide-ranging interests grew from her uncommon life experiences. Growing up in the Dust Bowl, without electricity or running water, instilled in her a dedication to social justice that found outlet in tireless volunteerism. Having married an athlete âwith the broadest shoulders Iâd ever seen,â she learned to love sports, but never gave up her passion for the arts, especially literature and music. She was a natural teacher and knew it to be the worldâs finest profession. As an elementary student in a one-room schoolhouse, she helped guide the younger students. Before she had even completed college she taught professionally on an emergency credential for rural, underserved areas. In later years, while in a wheelchair, she paid for her own classroom aide in order to continue teaching the students she loved at Fresno Adult School. By the time she retired in the 1990s, she had taught every educational level from pre-school through college.Mrs. Cramer became quadriplegic in 1983 from surgery to remove a tumor in the cervical spine. To the surprise of no one who knew her well, she adapted to her new reality without fuss and got on with the business of living. Following a relatively short stay in a rehabilitation hospital, she returned to teaching, volunteering, singing in the church choir, playing bridge with friends, hosting the Monday Ladies, directing her household, and supporting her family. Always a team, she and her husband became models of what it means to take one another âfor better or for worse, in sickness and in health.â In 2006, during a bout of pneumonia, she became dependent upon a ventilator which she used for the rest of her life. This too she accepted with fierce grace. Although physically weak, she had an indomitable spirit and love of life that inspired those around her to dig deeper, try harder, and be better.She will be greatly missed by son Charles Wayne Cramer and his wife, Linda Eileen Fehr Cramer daughter Rowena Rae Cramer Boyle and her husband, Edward Jerome Boyle daughter Luann Sue Cramer Beacom and her husband, John Eric Beacom grandchildren Caroline Jean Cramer, Allison Nancy Cramer, Shannon Eileen Cramer, Richard Charles Cramer, Annelee Crunchy Boyle Eakes (and her husband, Craig Douglas Eakes), Lauren Dwyer Boyle, Kathryn Rowena Boyle Pirie (and her husband, Christopher James Pirie), James Eric Beacom, and Mitchell Ray Beacom many other loving members of a large extended family and numerous friends, especially those from the College Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Fresno, Calif.He was predeceased by her beloved husband, Ray Charles Cramer, brothers Wayne and James, and sisters Sylvia and Freda.A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, 2011, at St. John University Parish in Morgantown, W.Va., followed by a reception in the Parish Hall. Following her wishes âto help the planet and not take up too much room,â she was cremated, and her ashes, in a biodegradable urn, will be interred in her husbandâs gravesite in East Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgantown, W.Va., in a private ceremony.In lieu of flowers or other memorials, the family requests that donations be made to a charity such as Poverello House (phone 559-498-6988), the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (www.unicefusa.org), or the Ray Cramer Scholarship at Fresno City College (phone 559-244-5991).
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