John Paul Kramer (1928 - 2012)

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Kramer, John Paul

Ithaca: John Paul Kramer, age 84, died of pulmonary fibrosis at Oak Hill Manor on July 26, 2012. He, and his identical twin brother James, were born in Elgin, Illinois on March 13, 1928, the sons of R. H. and Anna B. Kramer. He and James went from cradle to Ph.D together and pursued similar careers following identical courses of study from kindergarten through the doctorate. John and James were educated in the Elgin public schools where they played high school football, participated in the Junior Isaac Walton league, and the Fox Valley Rabbit Club.

John earned a B.S. degree in biology from Beloit College (1950) where he joined TKE fraternity. He earned a M.S. degree in entomology from the University of Missouri (1952) and Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Illinois (1958). He was a U.S. Army Medical Entomologist from 1952-1954, attained the rank of first lieutenant, and won the Bronze Star medal and the Korean Service medal with two battle stars. Chinese radio reports at that time accused U.S. Army entomologists of playing a major role in germ warfare practices aimed at the Chinese forces in Korea. This wild charge was without merit.

John was an Assistant Professor of Entomology at N.C. State (1958-59) and an Associate Entomologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey (1959-1965). He joined the Entomology faculty at Cornell in 1965 and was advanced to Professor in 1970. His research centered on microbial diseases of insects with emphasis on protozoal and fungal pathogens. He served as major advisor for 14 doctoral students in entomology. He authored about 100 articles based on his research. By means of well-calibrated eyeballs he elucidated the series of events that led to fatal microsporidial infections in the insect. He also characterized fungi that cause fatal infections in pestiferous flies and mosquitoes and demonstrated their potential usefulness in control practices. In collaboration with colleagues in Brazil he characterized a protozoan new to science associated with the causative agent of Chagas' disease. He participated in international conferences in Montreal, London, Paris, Prague, Fukuoka, and Washington D.C. and was a visiting scientist at the University of Alaska. His research projects were funded in part by NIH, ONR, WHO, NSF, and USDA. He served on the Study Section for Tropical Medicine and Parasitology at NIH and as a traveling consultant for WHO. His professional memberships included the Society for Invertebrate Pathology and the NY Entomological Society. He was listed in "Who's Who in America."

John was a long-time fancier and breeder of Abyssinian cavies, English spot and Netherland dwarf rabbits. He developed the very colorful rainbow Abyssinian that has founds its way to England where the fancy flourishes. He authored several articles on the coat color markings found in rabbits. John participated extensively in the show scene, both as an exhibitor and judge in NYS; scores of his animals achieved grand championships in open shows. He judged rabbit and cavy shows at county fairs in NY, PA, and the NY State Fair with special attention to the 4-H divisions. John was past president of the Taughannock Area Rabbit Breeders Association and NYS Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association. He achieved charter breeder status in the American Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club.

John was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Robert, Franklin, and James. He is survived by a daughter, Katherine J. Kramer of Santa Rosa CA; nieces Martha K. Parsons (Nat) of Fairfax, VA, Jennifer A. Mainardi (Mark) of Arlington, VA, and Ann D. Riebock (Ron) of Glen Ellen, IL; nephews Christopher J. Kramer (June) of Pewee Valley, KY, and Robert S. Kramer (Connie) of Elgin IL: and a very special survivor, Carol J. Hardy of Ithaca and her son Daniel V. McFadden (Jen) and daughter Jean Chase Clemo (Jim).

At John's request no memorial service is scheduled. Any memorial donations can be addressed to a charity of one's own preference. The family wishes to thank the staff at Oak Hill Manor for the wonderful care they gave John during the last months of his life. They made a real difference for him, and we are most grateful.

Published in Ithaca Journal on July 28, 2012
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