Miles C. "Mike" Cramer Sr.
Union — Miles C. "Mike" Cramer Sr., 85, died Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, surrounded by his family at The Cushing Homestead after an extended illness.
He will be deeply missed and eternally celebrated by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Born in Union, July, 7, 1928, he was the son of Clinton E. and Gladys V. Keene Cramer. He attended school in Union, and then was employed at Thurston Brothers Casket Factory in Union.
May 16, 1952, Mike enlisted in the United States Army and ultimately served in Japan and Korea. On Oct. 7, 1952, while serving in Korea, ignoring his own safety, Mike saved three military vehicles that had been struck by mortar attack, one of which was burning. For this gallant effort he was awarded a Bronze Star.
On July 18, 1954, he married Maxine Lindsey at Second Congregational Church in Warren. The couple was stationed in New York, until his discharge from active duty, May 13, 1955.
Returning to Union, Mike owned and operated a Shell Service Station on the Common there, until 1965. At that time, he began employment with Reichheld Motors, a Volkswagen dealership, located on the Rockland/Thomaston town line. In 1970, he purchased that dealership, operating under the name Mike Cramer Volkswagen/Mazda. As indicated by the name, Mike added Mazda and later Audi to the dealership. In association with Volkswagen of America, he and Maxine traveled frequently for conventions, twice to Europe, making life-long friends along the way. During this period he also purchased the Dodge building next to the VW Dealership, Miller’s Chrysler, on Rankin Street, Rockland, and several acres of vacant land on Route 1.
Upon retirement in 1990, Mike returned the Volkswagen franchise, but retained ownership of his Route 1, Thomaston, properties. He leased that building to the state of Maine and joined with them in completing a total renovation to ultimately house various state agencies. The remaining properties were sold, and are now Flagship Cinema, Midcoast Federal Credit Union, Dunkin Donuts/Super Cuts/ US Cellular, Rockland Antiques Marketplace, and an undeveloped lot on Route 1.
With automobile trading in his blood, he went to work for Ed Kolmosky at Fuller Auto Mall in Rockland, traveling weekly to the auto auctions in Massachusetts and Connecticut, buying and selling vehicles for that dealership. More recently, and until being stricken with a heart attack in 2012, Mike enjoyed driving dealer swap transports for Shepard Motors and Fuller Chevrolet/GMC. In that job, he appreciated the camaraderie shared with fellow drivers John Crabtree, and Clayton Collins.
Mike was known for his regular schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner at area restaurants, but was especially noted for maintaining the greenest lawn in town.
Mike was a member of the Union Lodge of Masons 0031, Mid-Coast Shrine Club, Order of the Eastern Star, and a friend of the Finnish Congregational Church in South Thomaston.
Whether helping someone trade cars, trading stories and having coffee with his friends, holding the door for a lady, riding his lawn mower, or singing hymns at church, Mike was always a Gentlemen’s Gentleman.
Other than his parents, Mike was predeceased by a brother, Burgess Cramer and a sister, Zola V. Hall. He is survived by his partner of 18 years, Colette M. Gagnon of Camden; his daughter, Peggy L. Bade and her husband Stephen of South Thomaston; his son Miles C. "Mickey" Cramer Jr. and his wife Anna M. of Carmel; three grandchildren, Jen Chapman of Warren, Matthew D. Chapman and his fiancée Michelle Hilliard of Glen Easton, West Virginia, Nakia L. Cramer and her fiancé David Rawley Jr., of Waldoboro; three great-grandchildren, Matthew M., Carter T. and Brady M. Chapman; the mother of his children, Maxine L. Cramer of Rockland; his companion Colette’s children, Peter Gagnon, his wife Stacey and their children Ashley and Zachary, Jeffrey Gagnon, his wife Deborah and their children Jeffrey, Jr., and Samantha, all of Dighton, Mass., Annemarie Pavao, her husband Paul and their children Jason and Krista of Rehoboth, Mass.; as well as several nieces, nephews and extended family.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit Friday, Jan. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, where a funeral service will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m. The Rev. Terrence Willis will officiate. Interment will be in the spring.
Mike's family wishes to express a special thank you to the staff at the Cushing Homestead and Kno-Wal-Lin Home Care and Hospice, who provided many months of quality care, stories and laughter.
While flowers are gratefully accepted, memorial donations may be made to Kno-Wal-Lin Homecare and Hospice, 170 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841. To share a memory or story with Mike’s family, please visit his Book of Memories at bchfh.com.