TRAVERSE CITY — Theodore Stevens Kramer, 85, was born on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 1924. Our father passed away on Feb. 7, 2010, at his home surrounded by the love and support of his family.
Dad was born to loving parents, William and Katherine Kramer, in Cleveland, Ohio. Being the third son, he never lacked adventure and companionship. On Sept. 4, 1948, Dad married our beloved Mom, Virginia "Ginny" Marie Couture, and together they enjoyed 61 years of marriage.
Dad graduated from Langley High School in Pittsburgh at the age of 16, excelling in football, swimming and track, as well as academics. Dad was very close to his brothers, Bill, Tom and Dick, and took great pride in their accomplishments. It was his brother, Tom who mentored him throughout his teens and college years. It was under his guidance that Dad entered Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., on a football scholarship where he and Tom were roommates. While there, Dad was a member of the Student Government and served as President of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.
After completing one year of college, Dad honorably served our country in the U.S. Army Air Corps from May 1943 to November 1945. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant as a pilot and flight instructor.
He returned to W and J after fulfilling his active duty, and graduated in 1947 with degrees in history and theology.
Dad chose to pursue a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1947 after considering becoming a criminal attorney or a physician. The required age for acceptance into the FBI was 25 years old, but at the recommendation of J. Edgar Hoover, Dad became one of the youngest to enter the FBI as a Special Agent (SA) at the age of 23. After extensive training held in Washington, D.C. and Quantico, Va., Dad was assigned to various locations throughout the United States, including Oklahoma, Washington, D.C. and Portland, Ore. In 1952, Dad was then transferred to Detroit and eventually promoted to Field Supervisor. In 1956, Dad requested assignment to Traverse City to originate a one-man Resident Agent (RA) office. He was responsible for criminal investigations in an area spanning from Grand Rapids to the Upper Peninsula and from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. Dad remained as such until retirement in 1975.
With honesty, integrity and intellect, Dad took great pride in his work. During his 28 years with the FBI, he was responsible for the apprehension of numerous criminals, including the captures and convictions of three individuals on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. He received several commendation letters from J. Edgar Hoover personally. He was also an expert marksman and regularly conducted weapons training for the Michigan State Police and the Traverse City Police Department in conjunction with Sheriff Richard Weiler.
Following retirement from the FBI, Dad was employed in the private sector by Robert Andrews for over eight years. He assisted Mr. Andrews in property management and investments in Traverse City, and various developments located in cities throughout the country. Mom and Dad then moved to Ormond Beach, Fla., in 1983, where he was employed in local government as the Economic Development Airport Manager. During the 12-year period with the city, Dad managed the airport and assisted in developing a business park and golf course.
Dad was an excellent golfer and avid reader. He spent many of his days playing golf and being a golf ranger at Bahle's Leelanau Club. One of the most difficult periods of his illness was when he was no longer able to play the game he loved so much. He greatly missed the Wednesday excursions to different area courses with his golfing buddies. He was also a very good gin rummy player and enjoyed the Tuesday gin rummy games in the back room at the Elks Club with his close friends.
Dad loved to watch all sports, especially the St. Francis Gladiators and professional football, basketball and baseball. In his last days, he wanted to know if Kobe (Bryant) broke the LA Lakers scoring record, and in the remaining hours of his life he was listening to the Super Bowl game.
Dad was one of the "founding fathers" of the Grand Traverse Ski Club, St. Francis Athletic Booster Club and Immaculate Conception Men's Club. He was past president of the Traverse City Golf and Country Club. He replaced Mr. Dale Wares as the liaison to the Traverse City Catholic School Board. Dad was a current member of the Elks Lodge, Immaculate Conception Church, Society of Retired FBI Agents and past member of the Rotary, Kiwanis and Optimist Clubs.
Besides his parents, Dad was preceded in death by his three brothers, William, Thomas and Richard; and his wife, Virginia.
He is survived by his sons, Gary (Kathleen), Keith (Karen), Pat (Linda), Mike and Teddy (Kathy); and daughters, Kitty (Jim) and Judy (Geoff). He is also survived by his grandchildren, Casey, Tyler, Kristin, Matthew, Sara, Kaylin, Courtney, Patrick, Max and Maddy.
Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by rosary recitation, at Immaculate Conception Church on Thursday, March 18, 2010. The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 19, 2010, at Immaculate Conception Church, with visitation one hour prior to the funeral time. Father James Hayden will serve as celebrant. Burial will take place at Oakwood Catholic Cemetery in Traverse City.
Please remember our Dad through memorial gifts to Traverse City Saint Francis Catholic Schools (GTACS) and the Immaculate Conception food pantry.
The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Munson Hospice nurses, caregivers, and to Dr. Richard Kosinski and Dr. Russell Van Houzen for their wonderful, professional care, not only to our Dad, but to our Mother as well.
Kindly share thoughts and memories of our Dad with the family on their online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being served locally by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
We love you, Dad. We love you, Grandpa.
This obituary was originally published in the Record-Eagle.