Funeral services for John Cramer, age 85, of Milaca will be held Friday, May 15, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Pease Christian Reformed Church with Rev. Michael Ten Haken officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to service at the church on Friday. Interment will follow at the Forest Hill Cemetery near Milaca. Military honors will be provided by Hansen-Hayes American Legion Post 178 and Siemers-Hakes VFW Post 10794.
John “Yella” Cramer was born April 5, 1930 in Sanborn, Iowa to immigrants from the Netherlands, Teake and Abertje (Sybesma) Cramer. He was one of the first generations in his family born in America.
John grew up in the Holland and Woodstock areas of Minnesota, completing school up to the eighth grade, he then farmed with his parents. He was drafted into the army in 1948, in Pipestone County's largest contingent of men for selective service. He served as a medic stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War from 1952-1954. In 1955, he met his wife Ethel, and settled in Aurora, SD. After moving to Pease in 1963, John worked with the developmentally disabled in Cambridge until 1966. He then worked for Hoffman Engineering in Anoka as a welder for 13 years until 1979, when he decided to farm full time. In 1974, John moved to Foreston with his wife and five children where he farmed, milked cows, raised horses, and juggled outside jobs. He was a school bus driver for the Milaca District for 24 years, and drove milk truck for the surrounding area. Eventually, John and Ethel moved to the high-rise in Milaca where they remained until their final days.
Many grew up referring to John as the bus driver that would sing or do silly things as they rode the long bus route together. His children, grandchildren and many other kids got to experience the fun Dutch songs sang by him as he would bounce them on his knee, sometimes changing the lyrics or adding a funny noise just to hear the child laugh. After overcoming stage fright at karaoke, he was titled “Johnny No Cash” by close friends who loved to hear him sing. Singing was very important to the Cramer family as he and his siblings attended and played at country music festivals annually, which supported their love to travel the US with their family.
John passed away Saturday, May 9, 2015 at the Fairview Northland Regional Hospital in Princeton to be with his wife of 55 years, Ethel (Baas) Cramer who passed away May 12, 2010.
He is survived by his children, Lucinda (Phillip) Livaudais of Clovis, CA, Orin Cramer of St. Cloud, Lorin (Vivian) Cramer of Foreston, Sulinda (Mark) George of St. Charles, MO, Lorinda Nelson of Ogilivie; grandchildren, Jon, Cyr, Angela, Crystal, Brianna, Jade, Jessica, Melissa Mike, Mark, Meagan, McKinzie, Jaydin, Sadie; seven great-grandchildren; sister Johanna (Lawrence) DeGroot of Aurora, SD; many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers and three sisters.