William Lester Kramer, 86, a long time resident of Grandview, passed away Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008, at Hillcrest Manor Nursing Home.
He was born in Hendersonville, N.C. on Jan. 27, 1922 to Harry Kramer and Adelle Mary Thompson. He contracted polio when he was five years old, which affected his right leg and foot. Knowledge and treatment of polio at the time was quite limited and his parents took him to the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. for treatment. His father was a professional trick bicycle rider performing at state and county fairs and small towns on his many road trips from North Carolina and through New York and New England. After his mother's death he stayed with his relatives when attending school. He attended school in Hendersonville, N.C., Taylorsville, S.C. and Baptist Boarding School in Union Mills, N.C. At a young age he developed his love and respect for animals from his parents and cared for many stray animals. He graduated from high school in Redwood City, Calif. He worked his way through Utah State College in the building and maintenance department, graduating with a degree in Forestry Management. He later worked in the National Forests in California, Oregon and Montana.
During World War II he was not eligible for the draft due to his polio and was employed as a machinist for the Iron Works in San Francisco, Calif. and Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C.
With his southern sense of humor, his talent for telling stories about his life experiences was a delight to hear. He has written a detailed record of his experience living with relatives, on road trips with his dad and attending various schools, most of this occurring in an area of North and South Carolina during the 30s and early 40s when times were challenging.
After visiting Washington several times, Bill and Margaret Rabb, his first wife, moved to Washington in 1959. He worked as a farm laborer for Ralph Adams. Margaret died in 1992. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1983 and was a devoted and active member. Bill and Marge Blackstock were married in 1998 and lived south of Grandview for several years.
He is survived by two nieces, Lani (Peter) Lawrence of Washington, Utah and Cheri Wilson of Chandler, Ariz.
He was preceded in death by his wives, Margaret Rabb in 1992 and Marge Blackstock in 2006; father, Harry Kramer; mother, Adelle Mary Thompson; two sisters, Katherine and Leona; and one brother, Frederick.
Viewing and visitation will be held Monday, Dec. 1, 2008, from 9 a.m. until the funeral service at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Sunnyside. Burial will be in the Grandview Cemetery.
Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.