At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Michigan Masons: Paw Paw - Lawton Lodge 25
234 E Michigan Ave
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Battle Creek VA Medical Center - Attn Community & Volunteer Service
5500 Armstrong Rd
Battle Creek, MI 49037
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
So much could be said about Bob Cramer, a man who lived his life as a positive example for others. A supportive husband, father, and grandfather, his greatest moments were the times he spent with his family. His infectious personality drew him naturally to many friendships over the years. He and his wife, Noreen took many memorable trips in their motorhome, once outrunning a tornado, as well as yearly trips to Las Vegas! A meticulous landscaper, avid hunter, and excellent craftsman, Bob leaves behind a rich collection of wonderful memories. His wisdom, guidance, and unconditional love will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered for generations to come.
His story begins in the 1930s, a time when there wasn’t much that was not affected by the Great Depression. There were few jobs and a soaring unemployment rate that left countless American families without homes. Despite these tough times, in Paw Paw, Michigan Leonard and Tressa (Johnson) Cramer were excited to celebrate the arrival of their unborn child. On June 2, 1935, Robert became the 4th son to bless the family. Joining his older brothers, Floyd, James, and Wesley, his birth brought much hope and happiness during a difficult time. Sadly, when Bob was only 2 years old, his mother, Tressa passed away during childbirth of his youngest brother Durwood “Woody”.
His father was a farmer and remarried Dorthea who raised him as a young boy. Sharing his developing years surrounded by boys offered him many opportunities for hard work and equal mischief. Known to carry his own weight when it came to the occasional fistfight, he only did so if he was protecting one of his siblings. His natural charm earned him the rights to fish on a neighbor’s pond where he spent countless afternoons. Although he attended Paw Paw schools, he often skipped to deliver cement blocks for extra money. Eventually, he quit school altogether in order to help support his family. In addition to the selling of blocks, he also worked on the family farm and helped out local farmers in the area. Typical of the times, he also pedaled papers to earn extra money. Known for his generosity, he also saved up for the occasional pleasure item like the 22 caliber rifle he used for hunting rabbits and pheasants. When he became of age, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he trained as infantry and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from 1954-1961.
Bob married Beatrice Good and subsequently had two children, Cindy & Rick. They later divorced and through a mutual friend, he met Noreen Gurnsey. After some persistent chasing on his part, he won over and married Noreen, the love of his life he would often say. They joined in marriage on June 3, 1961. Together they raised a daughter, Tammy and a son, Rodney. Talented on the dancefloor they shared countless opportunities to “cut a rug” over the years! They also enjoyed frequenting the local cinema and hanging out with friends. At the time, Bob was working at Eckrich and later became a union electrician for Local 131. Primarily employed at Palisades Power Plant, the union also sent him all over the country, especially during the winter months when local jobs were scarce. He’d often be gone during the week and back home on the weekends. As a father, Bob loved to treat the kids to hunting and fishing trips. He even taught his daughter, Tammy how to shoot a bow and arrow. He also had a passion for adventure and loved snowmobiling with the family. During one snowmobile adventure, he attached a sled to the back for Tammy to ride in, he took off and hit a rock. Tammy was tossed from the sled but Bob did not realize and kept going! There was never a dull moment with Bob! His children & grandchildren always knew they could count on him over the years. He taught his granddaughter how to drive a bulldozer and a motorhome. He never missed an opportunity to help with a car that wouldn’t start or chase an opossum off a porch! There simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for a family member, friend, or even a stranger in need!
A steadfast provider and wonderful partner, he and Noreen shared a lifetime of happy memories. They treasured their years at their cabin in Baldwin where Bob could fish and boat to his heart’s content. Christmas was a special time shared with their growing family. For many years Bob assisted with his wife, Noreen in hosting “Cramer Christmas”. Generations of Cramer’s came to the house to celebrate together and enjoy good food and there was always a gift for every kid. Bob was always a great sport with Christmas, every year while celebrating with immediate family, regardless of how careful they were with name tags, there was always a gift that was tagged with Bob’s name but was actually someone else’s, usually a female family member. One year it was a nightgown, another year it was a dress. Even this year, 2018 the unplanned tradition continued so he joked that he should just open all the gifts and then he would pass out what he felt was not his. Never one to remain idle, he held a vast array of special interests over the years. He enjoyed playing pool on a league and did well in area tournaments. He also enjoyed golfing and spent many years perfecting his swing. If Bob couldn't be found, he was surely outdoors working on one of his landscaping masterpieces or fixing something in the barn.
Retiring from Pfizer where he ended his career installing computers didn’t seem to slow him down. Bob continued working for his honorary son, Tom Aleksich’s construction business. No matter what he set out to accomplish, he always gave his all. No project was too big for Bob. He thoroughly enjoyed taking them on even building he and Noreen’s home from the ground up! He was never alone with his constant companion, his dog, Spencer by his side. Bob couldn’t imagine owning another dog after losing two special dogs earlier, but Spencer was simply meant to be! Described as one of the most honest and hardworking people, may his many special friends and loved ones never question the love he held for them.
Robert Gordon Cramer, age 83, of Lawton, Michigan passed away on January 31, 2019. He was a proud member and Past Master Mason of the Masonic Lodge. He was a member of the Paw Paw Eagles 4310. Preceding him in death are his son, Rodney, four brothers; Wesley Cramer, James Cramer, Durwood David, and Floyd Johnson; his father, Leonard, and step-mom; Dorthea Cramer. Surviving are his wife, Noreen, children; Tammy Van Niman, Cindy Steinbeck, and Richard Cramer; grandchildren; Jennifer Lynn Van Niman, Kenneth Van Niman, Lori Steinbeck, and Angel Coleman, Nichole Cramer; 5 great-grandchildren; many special nieces and nephews; and honorary son: Tom Aleksich. Visit with family and friends on Tuesday, February 5th from 5-7 PM at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870 where services will be held on Wednesday at 12 PM. Burial will then take place at Wildey Cemetery. Please visit Bob’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Michigan Masons or to the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.