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Larry Ronald Kramer

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Larry Ronald Kramer, born April 6, 1942 in Austin, Minn., died Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Rossville Health Care and Rehabilitation Center. He was 71. Kramer had been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and his health had been declining the past eight years.

A native of Minnesota, Larry Kramer originally wanted to attend the University of Minnesota to play football. However, that is not how things turned out. Kramer was recruited and made the decision to attend the University of Nebraska. Kramer once said regarding that decision - the friends he made, the coaches and meeting his wife made that decision the best decision he ever made. He married Sandra Van Norman his wife of 50 years on August 17, 1963. During his time at Nebraska he also became one of the nation's best tackles while playing for the University of Nebraska. He was named the only unanimous selection to the 1964 All-American team that included players like Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus.

Kramer went on to spend 32 years coaching football before his retirement in 1997. After his retirement, Kramer filled his days searching for antiques and expanding his extensive Coca Cola memorabilia collection.

The impact he had on the many young men and coaches he worked with was everlasting. Kramer was known for his toughness; however his players always knew he cared about their success. He cared about each of them whether they were a first string player or sat the bench. His drive, discipline and passionate spirit have molded many young men who also went on to be successful coaches themselves. Many people found Kramer enjoyable to watch coach. His passion for the game, his team and his competitive spirit were undeniable. He loved the game!

Kramer's highlights and accomplishments as a football player and coach stand alone. He was one of a kind, but what made him truly special is the quality and character he had outside of the game. The love and caring attitude he brought to those he loved. He was tough at times but genuine and no nonsense. He was a wonderful father to his four children and a playful, gentle man with his nine grandchildren. It was not unusual at family gatherings to find PopPop/Grandpa out in the yard participating (not coaching) in a game of football with his little crew of players who all looked up to him. Kramer loved attending his grandkid's games, programs and school activities. Even in the end he had a winning team. A team who adored him, loved him and will cherish the memories forever!

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sandra Kramer; a son, Tim(Kendra) Kramer of Lakeland, Fla., three daughters, Kelly Potter(John Humphrey) of Topeka, Kan., Erin Melton of Ft. Morgan, Colo., and Kerry (Jeff) Glasgow of Lawrence, Kan.; and 9 grandchildren. Also surviving are his mother, June Kramer of Austin, Minn.; brother, Jim Kramer of St. Paul, Minn.; and brothers in law, Robert Van Norman of Rapid City, S.D., and Jim Van Norman of Redlands, Calif. Kramer is preceded in death by his father, Ronald Kramer.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 1 at First United Methodist Church in Emporia, Kan. Family visitation in the church parlor will be at 1 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Austin High School Packer Athletic Improvement Project and sent in care of Roberts Blue Barnett Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made through www.robertsblue.com.

A celebration of Coach Kramer will be held at the Trusler Sports Complex Saturday following the memorial service.
Published in The Herald Democrat on Jan. 29, 2014
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