Ronald S. Cramer, age 63, former Jefferson area resident and residing in Connecticut the past year to be closer to his children and grandchildren, died unexpectedly Monday while participating in a 5K Race in Ashtabula. It was at this same event four years ago that Ron suffered a major heart attack and was miraculously revived. He participated in this race each year after that. He liked to say that he had a second chance at life that day and regarded each day as a gift from God.
He was born Oct. 23, 1953, in Dubois, Pa., the son of Morris L. and Eula I. (Zufall) Cramer and resided in the Jefferson area since 1975, coming from Niagara Falls, N.Y. Ron was a 1975 graduate of Buffalo State University Teacher's College with a bachelor's degree in education. He also earned his Masters of Education degree from Edinboro University and a Masters of Christian Ministries from Malone University. He was married to Patricia A. Ball on July 27, 1974, in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Ron was an educator in the Jefferson Area School System, retiring in 2010 after 35 years of service at Dorset and Jefferson Elementary Schools. Many sixth grade students will remember his farewell serenade to them the last day of school of "Forever Young." A member of the Jefferson Area Teachers' Association, Ron served a term as President. He also worked for the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources as a campground check-in attendant at Pymatuning Lake Park for many years.
Ron was a longtime member of the Jefferson United Methodist Church, participating in several mission work trips to Johns Island, S.C., leading the Men's Sunday School Class for 24 years and also organizing many trips for men to Promise Keepers conferences and other men's events. A passionate guitar player and singer for his Abba Father, Ron treasured his 12-string guitar that Don Banzer made for him and wanted to share his love of music with others. He led the JUMC praise band from its inception to just prior to his move to Connecticut. He also loved participating in worship at Koinonia of Lake County retreats and gatherings, serving as a troubadour, team member and Rector there. He was privileged to share music and witness at Teen Challenge worship services led by the Forgiven Chapter of Christian Motorcyclists, of which he was a member and officer. He and his wife, Pat, were members of the Lighthouse Singers, a local Christian musical group, for several years. He was most recently active with the Trinity Baptist Church in New Haven, Conn.
An actor at heart since his high school days, Ron had the privilege of acting and singing in many Ashtabula Arts Center plays and musicals. From the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz to Teddy Roosevelt in Arsenic and Old Lace, Ron gave each role his all and immensely enjoyed the friends he made with all the directors, casts and crews over the years. Ron was also active in the Falcon Follies, from its first year to the 25th, acting, singing, writing skits and directing, especially the year he co-directed with his "Linguini Brother," ed Burke. With his wife, he was the director of the Jefferson Players at Jefferson Area High School for 13 1/2 years, surrounding himself with a crack team of adults who helped with choreography, sets, sound, costumes and cast parties. Through the Players, he opened the door to acting for many, many students and made them feel part of a special family. He was the Voice of the Jefferson Area High School Marching Band for eight years, bringing excitement to each of their half-time shows and candies to share with band members during the games.
Ron enjoyed bowling on the Jefferson Teachers' bowling league, the JUMC softball team, and more recently the game of golf. He was assistant Cub master when his sons were in Scouting, served on the Spiderweb Board for many years. He was an avid Steelers and loyal Pirates fan and would often comment how happy he was that the Pirates were .500 this late in the season. He lovingly maintained the grounds at the South Denmark Road covered bridge when their family moved nearby, and after his retirement from teaching, volunteered at the Manna Food Pantry, and regularly transported people in need to medical appointments. A regular at the breakfast table at Mugs Restaurant, Ron never hesitated to help himself to the coffee pot if his cup was getting low, and initiating a quick comeback to any and all wisecracks.
Ron is survived by his wife, Patricia (who he lovingly referred to as She Who Must Be Obeyed); two much-loved sons and daughters-in-law, Matthew (Alvina) Cramer and James P. (Rebecca) Cramer, both of New Haven, Conn.; three grandchildren, Kingsley, True and Cecelia, who loved their Papay/Grandpa immeasurably, as he adored them; two sisters, "The Cramer Girls, who wear their hair in curls," Lana (Edwin) London of Reynoldsville, Pa., and Rita (Mark) McCarthy of N. Tonawanda, N.Y.; and a brother, Dalvin (Patty) Cramer, affectionately referred to as The Patriarch of the Family, of Washington Court House, Ohio. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews, who will miss their Uncle Ronnie.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Lee Cramer (and Deliah); sister, Yvonne (and Steve) Fye and sister, Geraldine (and Jack) Smith.
Memorial Services will be Saturday, June 3rd, at 11 a.m. at the Jefferson United Methodist Church, 125 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson with the Rev. Daniel Bilkert, the Rev. Thomas Poremba and the Rev. Quincy Wheeler officiating.
Calling Hours will be Friday, June 2nd, from 4-7 p.m. at the Jefferson Home of FLEMING 7 BILLMAN FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND CREMATORY, 49 W. Jefferson St., Jefferson.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Jefferson United Methodist Church, 125 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047; Doctors Without Borders, www.doctorswithoutborders.org; The Manna Food Pantry c/o St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 89 E. Satin St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047; Spiderweb, 133 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047; Jefferson Area School Music Boosters, 207 W. Mulberry St., Jefferson, Ohio 44047; Special Olympics, www.specialolympics.org
The Fleming & Billman Funeral Directors and staff are honored to serve the Ronald Cramer family. Visit fleming-billman.com to view obituary, express condolences, send a flower or light a candle.
Published on May 31, 2017