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Nicholas William Kramer


1921 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Nicholas William Kramer Obituary
Nicholas William Kramer never missed the opportunity to try to stump you, be it geography, science, plant identification or knowledge of various fruits or vegetables from around the world. His insatiable curiosity, brilliant mind and incredible life experiences made him the first person to turn to when exploring topics for a middle school report, writing a dissertation, troubleshooting anything that didn't work, or planning a vacation. In his own quiet way, Nick brought out the best in everyone around him - pushing his children and those around him to ask challenging questions and strive for excellence in everything they pursued.
Nicholas William Kramer, formerly of Plainview, passed away peacefully on July 18 2015, in Austin. A visitation with the family followed by the Rosary will be held at Kornerstone Funeral Directors in Plainview from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, July 26. A funeral mass will be held at St. Alice Catholic Church in Plainview at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 27, with burial to follow at Plainview Cemetery.
Nicholas William Kramer was born on May 4, 1921, in Burkettsville, Ohio, the eldest of 15 children of John Nicholas Kramer and Helen Elizabeth Fink. He grew up working on his family's farm during the Great Depression and started a seed business as a freshman in high school. Following high school, Nick's mother loaned him her egg money to pay for travel to Columbus, Ohio so he could attend Ohio State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture – Plant Sciences and then went on to complete a Doctorate in Agronomy – Crop Breeding following service in World War II.
While attending Ohio State as an undergraduate student, Nicholas met the love of his life, Thanet Barnitz who had a part-time job in the Agronomy Department. Nick and Thanet were married on Sept. 4, 1943, before Nick entered the U.S. Army in 1944. Nick served in the U.S. 3rd and 63rd Division, U.S. 7th Army Infantry, Special Operations in combat across France, Belgium and Germany from 1945-1946, earning the Bronze Star.
Following the conclusion of World War II, Nick and Thanet settled in Columbus so Nick could complete his Ph.D. The couple's first son, Eric William was born in Columbus in 1947, and daughter Renata Ruth arrived in 1949. The family moved to Lubbock, Texas in 1950, where daughter Sara Beth was born in 1952, followed by the arrival of Alexa Marie in 1955. In 1960, the family moved to the Paymaster research farm east of Plainview. Son Evan Nicholas was born in Plainview in 1963, followed by Emil Augustine in 1965.
During his long and productive career, Nick pioneered breeding of hybrid grain sorghum while serving as Research Director at Paymaster Seeds, ACCO Seed, and Cargill. He also served in numerous research and leadership positions, consulting to the USDA and Texas Department of Agriculture and serving on numerous committees, including the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders. He also served as President of the Texas Certified Seed Producers and the Sorghum Improvement Conference of America, and was awarded the Grain Sorghum Producers Association award for distinguished service to American Agriculture.
While never a Boy Scout growing up, Nick was active in the Boy Scouts of America for over 50 years in numerous capacities at the troop, council, and district levels and was the recipient of the District Award of Merit in Haynes District and the Silver Beaver awarded for exceptional character and distinguished service within a council. Through scouting he taught a strong appreciation for the outdoors and was able to show his resourcefulness for building or fixing nearly anything.
While Nick and his wife, Thanet, traveled extensively, they also cared deeply about their community and were active in teaching religion at St. Alice Catholic Church, where Nick was President of the Parish Council and active in leadership with the Diocese of Amarillo (and later Lubbock). Nick was a long-standing member of the Plainview Noon Optimist Club, an active volunteer who served on the board of directors of the Plainview Hospital Auxiliary, and worked tirelessly to support the Plainview Community Concert Association, Meals on Wheels, and numerous other charitable interests.
Nick follows his beloved wife of 71 years, Thanet Kramer of Austin, and is survived by their six children and their spouses: Eric Kramer and Sara Jill Rubel of East Troy, Wisconsin; Renata and Paul Griego of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Sara and Jerry Hulcy of Sweetwater, Texas; Alexa and Robert Stuifbergen of Austin, Texas; Evan and Serena Kramer of Houston, Texas; and Emil and Susan Kramer of Davenport, Iowa. In addition, Nicholas is survived by 12 grandchildren: Brian and John Kramer (Eric), Saul, Stefan and Ruth Griego (Renata), Renee Carey and Craig and Chad Hulcy (Sara), Anne Morales and Emily Lovell (Alexa), and Nicholas and Johnny Kramer (Evan). Nicholas also leaves 13 great-grandchildren: Forrest and Seneca Kramer, Hunter and Scarlett Griego, Tenille Sylvest, Emily Richburg, Jackie and Cody Carey, Taryn, Addison and Landon Hulcy, and Sophia and Lilliana Morales, as well as two great-great- grandchildren, Kyler and Ellie Carey.
Also surviving are Nick's sisters, Alvera Schmitz of New Weston, Ohio, Rose Brown of St Mary's, Ohio, Hilda Schmitz of Union City, Ohio, and Edna Stout of St Henry, Ohio.
He was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers, Henry, Luke, Leo, Richard, Mark, and Joseph and four sisters, Clara Hinkle, Anna Jutte, Agnes Schmitz, and Helen Kramer.
Nicholas Kramer was a loving father who always had time for his children and grandchildren. He leaves behind a legacy of scientific curiosity, service, stories, and love for all that knew him. For many, just the scent of pipe tobacco brings back fond memories of times with Nick. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
The family wishes to particularly thank caregivers Pamela Musgrave, Elaine Baker, and Tonya Price whose dedication and support for "Mr. K" have been a gift without measure.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Hospice Austin, 4107 Spicewood Springs Road, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78759 (www.hospiceaustin.org).
Online condolences may be made at www.kornerstonefunerals.com.
Published in Sweetwater Reporter on July 25, 2015
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