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James Lewis Kraker Jr., 93, passed away peacefully on May 11th at Halifax hospital, Daytona Beach, Florida near his winter home in New Smyrna Beach. He was born Jan. 22, 1920 in Spring Lake, NJ, the first of 2 siblings to his mother Dorothy & father James Lewis. He moved to Beulah, a small town in Northern Michigan where he spent his youth on a fruit farm, graduating from Benzie Central High in 1938. After graduating from Cornell University in 1942 with a degree in Agricultural Economics, Jim joined the Navy, trained as a naval aviator and married his college sweetheart Dorothy Dodds. He flew Navy transports in the Pacific theater during World War II and following the war he returned to Northern Michigan. There he and his wife Dorothy developed the Cherry Hut restaurant from a road side stand founded by his parents. Jim moved to Gouverneur, NY in 1950 where he took over management of Dodds Motor Corp., a Ford farm implement and auto dealership. Jim served as President of the New York State Automobile Dealers Association and was a Time Magazine Dealer of the Year recipient. He sold the business in 1982, but remained very active with the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC), Cornell University alumni affairs, Potsdam State University, the Rotary Club, Presbyterian Church and many other civic organizations. He was active with the Boy Scouts earning the Silver Beaver award, the highest award in Scouting. Jim was also an avid sportsman enjoying golf, tennis, sailing, snow skiing and keeping up with his favorite teams and his children's active sports schedules. Jim and Dorothy had three children: Larry in New Smyrna Beach, FL, Sandy (Joline) in Cazenovia, NY; and Althea deceased in 1981; grandsons Evan, Jacob, Jesse, Jeremy, and Mathew; great grandchildren Christian, Annaliese and Amelia. Jim is survived by his sister Althea of Beulah, MI. Funeral Services will be 5 pm Saturday, June 15, 2013 at Coronado Community United Methodist Church, New Smyrna Beach FL. A service will also be held in Gouverneur, NY later in the summer. Donations in Jim's memory can be made to the Gouverneur Foundation/Althea Kraker Scholarship, 133 E. Barney St., Gouverneur, NY 13642. Share a memory with the family at www.BaldwinCremation.com.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on June 13, 2013