Obituary: Father George Kramer, former Air Force Chaplain

A priest of the archdiocese who spent 20 years serving the women and men in the United States Air Force died Jan. 11 after a long illness in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Father George Kramer was 78.

The only son of the late George and Margaret Kramer, both immigrants in 1924 to the United States from Germany. His mother Margaret died during George’s second year in the seminary. Father Kramer was born in Boston and graduated from Boston College High School before entering St. John’s Seminary. He was ordained by Archbishop Richard Cushing on Sept. 29, 1953 at Holy Cross Cathedral. He was a member of the “second class of ’53” a class which had an accelerated course of studies so that the seminary could make room for the larger number of seminarians accepted that fall!

Father Kramer’s first assignment was to Immaculate Conception Parish in Salem where he served from ordination until 1960 when he entered the chaplain corps of the United States Air Force. Over the next 20 years he served in Air Force installations around the globe: England, La.; Elmendorf, Alaska; Hancock, Syracuse; Luke, Ariz.; Misawa, Japan; Brooks, Texas; Ramery, Puerto Rico; MacDill, Tampa; Clark, Phillipines and Keesler, Miss.

He retired from active duty in 1980 and Cardinal Medeiros granted him lend lease status so that he could assist in the Orlando Diocese. His parents had moved to Port St. Lucie in 1963 and so the now rapidly growing city on Florida’s Treasure Coast had become home. From 1980 to 1999 he served the pastors and people of St. Lucie Parish. When the new diocese of Palm Beach was created in 1984 he was reunited with one of his seminary contemporaries, Bishop Thomas Daily. Throat cancer silenced his voice so that he had to retire from assisting at the parish. And in the following years his health continued to decline leading to his death on Jan. 11.

Father Kramer’s funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 15 at St. Lucie Church, Port St. Lucie, Fla. The principal celebrant of the Mass was the parish’s former pastor and close friend of Father Kramer, Father Peter Dolan. Joining Father Dolan were the present pastor, Father Mark Szanyi, OFM Conv., Father Martin Mulqueen, Holy Redeemer, Palm City; and Father Robert M. O’Grady, of the staff of The Pilot.

Father Kramer was buried in the family lot in Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Fort Pierce, Fla.