Michael Peter Kramer
June 19, 2013
A man's worth is not so much found in the things he acquired or the riches he had, but rather in the way he led his life, and the people he touched. Mike Kramer was such a man. He found his worth in his love for the Lord, and each time he looked into the eyes of his beloved wife and children. With a servant's heart, Mike lived with integrity, grace, and ways which were all his own.
The year 1969 was a turning point within the culture of America. With the onset of the Vietnam War, the sense of innocence experienced in the previous decade was lost to a nation rapidly growing, and a culture of youth who found voice for a cause. Anti-war demonstrations made daily headlines, news of the day included the thousands gathered at Woodstock, and Neil Armstrong took a giant leap for mankind with the first step on the moon. Among these days of change, Edward and Mary (Siebenaler) Kramer had news of their own on February 24, 1969 when they welcomed the birth of their son, Michael into their arms.
Born in Rochester, Minnesota, Michael was raised on his family's beef, hog, and crop farm in the small community of Elba, Minnesota. He enjoyed the adventures of childhood, and life on the farm offered him much during his formative years. Always the talker, Michael could strike up a conversation with nearly anyone, even at an early age. He especially loved talking with his mom. Raised in a home filled with laughter and love, his wonderful sense of values and compassion for others can be attributed to his earliest beginnings. He learned early on the difference between right and wrong, and lived his life accordingly.
As a youngster, there was never a lack of anyone for Michael to play with. With a bustling household of children, he often played with his siblings in the sandbox, and to him, butterscotch candies gave him, "special powers". During his youth, he enjoyed giving horse rides to his younger siblings. Michael attended the area schools and loved cross country in high school. He was a social young man, and a friend to many. Outgoing and well liked, Michael made a friend in everyone he met. Soon after graduating from St. Charles High School in 1987, Michael was initiated into the AGR Fraternity at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul where he made numerous good friends who called him Spike and made lasting memories before graduating in 1992.
Although as a child he had a dream of becoming Pope, Mike enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving from 1993 to 1997. During his time in the service, he attained the rank of Captain, and his tour of duty included time in Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Ft. Carson, Colorado, Camp Darby in Italy, and at Camp Doha in Kuwait. He was in Cuter, the United Arab Emirates, and in Bahrain. He also served as a Port Operations Officer on a tanker with the M1 Abrams. Even though Mike proudly and honorably served his country, as a kid he saw a crop duster which began his passion for flying one day. After his discharge, he somewhat regretted not having enlisted in helicopter flight training for the Army.
In 1994, Mike's life changed in a dramatic way when he accepted Jesus as his Savior, and committed his life to serving Him. Through this commitment, Mike's life began transforming in new and positive ways. Always a likable fellow, he made many friends while in the military, one of which introduced him to Tricia Riggins, the love of his life. With the Lord as his center, and with Tricia beside him, Mike felt truly complete. Colorado Springs, Colorado set the stage for their meeting, and before long they fell deeply in love. After being blessed in marriage in Monument, Colorado on February 25, 1995, the two were eager to begin their new life together.
After a move to Clear Lake, Wisconsin in 1997, Mike counted the births of his two children, Katie and Daniel as the best times of his life. Coming from a large family, Mike desired ten children, which became a standing joke between he and Tricia. He felt blessed beyond compare with his devoted wife by his side, and his children in his arms. Katie was Mike's "Sweet Pea", while Daniel was Mike's, Boogie. These nicknames were forever endearing to Mike.
A man after God's own heart, Mike lived his life with a strong, Christian faith. He was sensitive to others, and had a way of knowing people's feelings in the quiet places of his heart. Mike was very traditional, and people referred to him as, "grandpa" because he liked old things. Even as an adult, Mike loved going home for visits to the familiar surroundings of family. There were a few things he didn't care for, like food eaten in his car, and when their cat peed in the house, it was forever banned from entering again. After that, he held a good grudge against cats.
The year 1997 found Mike and Tricia purchasing their own dairy farm in Clear Lake, Wisconsin after living in Italy for a year. There they worked and milked 45 Jerseys in all, and had a grazing operation. Along with his family, Mike's sister-in-law, Rose also lived with them. Near and dear to Mike and Tricia's heart, Rose has Downs Syndrome, which in 1998 prompted them to purchase an old Victorian house in town where they began providing adult foster care for developmentally disabled adults. Quite fitting, they named their home, Rosewood.
In time, Mike switched his farm from seasonal, grass based dairy to a seasonal, custom heifer grazing operation. In 2006, they sold the farm and foster home, and began anew in Sevierville, Tennessee where Mike realized his dream of flying. He began his helicopter flying career, and that very year, Mike flew helicopter for cattle roundup in Australia. In 2007-2008 he flew tours over the Smokey Mountain National Park in Tennessee, and flew the news chopper in Orlando, Florida for Sky 13.
By 2009, Mike was flying for Scotts Helicopters which included the Twin Cities Metropolitan Mosquito Control. Throughout this time, he also flew for news choppers, Fox 9, Kare 11, and WCCO 4 as needed. By 2010, he used his flying skills for Air Evac Lifeteem, EMS (Emergency Medical Service) in Alabama and Kentucky. He loved combining his love for flying and care for others, and in 2011 he flew for Wings Air Rescue, EMS Helicopter in Jenkins, Kentucky and in 2012 for UT Knoxville Lifestar EMS Helicopter.
In January of this year, Mike and his family moved back home to Minnesota where they settled in St. Charles. They became faithful members of Heartland Community Church of St. Charles and enjoyed every Sunday brunch at “Grandma Kramer’s.” Mike went on to work for Mercy Air Med out of Mason City, Iowa, and by Spring returned to Scotts Helicopters spraying for Metropolitan Mosquito Control. After settling in, together Mike and Tricia made goals for the future. After their Tennessee hobby farm sold, they hoped to have bought a small farm near St. Charles, and Mike planned on continuing to spray for Scotts. They also planned on providing adult foster care in their home again.
Mike's lived fully and completely at every opportunity. He experienced much, and never put too much stock in material possessions or riches. He knew his friends and family were most important. He placed his faith in his Lord, and in all he did, Mike Kramer did to the best of his ability, and for those entrusted to his care. Through the Lord, Mike accomplished much, and was called friend by many. He realized his dream of flying, and did so with a servant's heart. A devoted man who dedicated his life for the benefit of others, Mike is enjoying the fruits of his labor in the loving arms of his Lord . . . “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
At the age of 44, Michael P. Kramer, of St. Charles, died Wednesday, June 19, 2013 as a result of a helicopter accident in Maplewood, Minnesota. Loving husband, giving father, conscientious student, excellent pilot, and a Christian man who stood for the truth, he will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.
Mike is survived by his wife, Tricia; daughter, Katherine, and son, Daniel; his mother, Mary Kramer of St. Charles; father, Edward (JoAn) Kramer of St. Charles; paternal grandmother, Evabell Kramer of St. Charles; 12 siblings: Deborah (Robert) Manemann of Plainview, John (Gwendolyn) Kramer of Glen Rose, TX, Susan (Burnell) Folkert of Rochester, Steven (April) Kramer, David (Karen) Kramer and Karen Davis, all of St. Charles, Terry Nelson of Rochester, Melanie (Joseph) Kreidermacher and Gregory (Jacqualynn) Kramer of St. Charles, Kathleen (Jarred) Mosdal of Lanesboro, Matthew (Joyce) Kramer of Chatfield, and Victoria (Rian) Jones of Stewartville; mother-in-law, Adrian Barnes; sisters-in-law, Mary (David) Maynard, Jeanne (Steve) James, and Rose Riggins, whom Mike and Tricia were foster parents; brothers-in-law, John (Melanie) Riggins and Mike (Melinda) Riggins; many nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Bill Riggins, and maternal grandparents, Alex and Olivia Siebenaler; paternal grandfather, Gregory Kramer; and brother-in-law, Gene Davis.
A celebration of Mike’s life will be held at 10:00 AM Monday, June 24, 2013 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church with Pastor Mark Pluim and the Reverend Kurt Farrell officiating. Burial will follow in St. Aloysius Cemetery in Elba with the St. Charles American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars conducting military graveside honors. Friends may meet with his family from 4-8 PM on Sunday at Hoff Funeral Service in St. Charles and from 9-10 AM Monday prior to his service at church. The family prefers memorials in lieu of flowers. Please visit www.hofffuneral.com to share a favorite memory and photo of Mike, view his Life Story film and to sign his online guest book.