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Union officials dedicate town report to former selectman

Jul 02, 2020
Photo by: Stacey M. Y. Parra

Union — The town of Union has proceeded in dedicating their annual report to Lyle B. Cramer, a former selectman that served on the town board from 2011 to 2019.

The dedication reads as follows:

"We dedicate the 2020 Town of Union Annual Report to Lyle B. Cramer with gratitude, affection and respect.

"It is fitting, in this most strange and unexpected year of the pandemic, that we honor a Renaissance Man such as Lyle. Anyone who knows Lyle might instantly recall the twinkle in his lake-blue eyes, his quick smile, his assortment of baseball caps. As a member of Union’s Board of Selectmen from 2011 through 2019, he became known as a voice of reason with a calm demeanor and a quiet wisdom. A born prankster and an avid outdoorsman with two master’s degrees, his life so far has encompassed the roles of family man, Registered Maine Guide, guidance counselor, blueberry grower, politician and volunteer extraordinaire.

"Born here in Union, Lyle was educated at the University of Maine at Orono and the University of Southern Maine. He and his wife Janice Blethen Cramer are the parents of twin sons, Bruce J. Cramer and the late Brian Lyle Cramer. They are grandparents to Abigail Ann and Jack Brian.

"From 1968 to 1998 Lyle was the Guidance Counselor at Cape Elizabeth Middle School. His pre-Union political offices include Westbrook City Council member and Cumberland County Commissioner. In addition, he was in the blueberry trade and belonged to the Grange and Local Community Action Program.

"In Union, besides serving on the Board of Selectmen, Lyle was a representative on the William Pullen Fund Committee, a Budget Committee member, and an alternate on the Tri-County Solid Waste Management Organization.

"Anyone who has ever attended or served on the Founders Day Committee likely knows Lyle. He has also been a tireless promoter of the Union Fair, including having served as Volunteer Coordinator. In May 2017 he accepted a Volunteer of the Year Award from the Union Chamber of Commerce on behalf of 'the volunteers who make the Union Fair and Maine Wild Blueberry Festival possible… and log up to 10,000 hours during fair week itself' according to Village Soup. In November 2012 he and Ron Hawes accepted the Promoting Agriculture award for the Union Fair Society from Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation 'in recognition of more than 100 years of advancing agriculture in midcoast Maine through the Union Fair and related activities' according to the Boothbay Register.

"These accomplishments, built on a foundation of discipline, capability, and hard work, do not capture Lyle in his entirety, however. His cousin Richard Niles, also of Union, was kind enough to spill a few stories from the past. It seems that Lyle, Lyle’s brother Keith, and Richard made up quite the trio.

"Richard recalled once ice fishing on Ragged Lake. Six inches of water sloshed atop the ice, and a huge trout that Lyle had landed jumped right out of his hands. 'You should have seen him chasing that flounder,' Richard said. 'He did eventually get it back. It fed four people.'

"Another time Richard had a huge three yolker egg, which he had carefully placed in his pocket. He made the mistake of alerting Lyle, who promptly came up and smashed it, proclaiming that Richard now had a three yolker pocket. Not to be outdone, Richard chased Lyle, dug out what egg remains he could, and smeared the goo all over Lyle’s head. A college joke of Lyle’s involved placing a bucket of water right outside Richard’s dormitory door. Lyle knocked on the door and took off. When Richard opened the door, the bucket toppled over, and five gallons of water flooded the floor.

"This more adventurous side was no doubt what led Lyle to become a Maine Guide. He was listed with the Maine Conservation Alliance Network as Master Hunting, Master Fishing, and Master Recreation. For many years he introduced others to our great outdoors through his Maine Guide business, operated in Union from his beloved home on Seven Tree Pond.

"In typical Lyle fashion, for many years he combined his passions by leading a canoe tour of Seven Tree Pond sites featured in the Ben Ames Williams novel Come Spring, set in Union in 1776 and always a focal point of Founders Day. Lyle would paddle expertly amid the sun glinting off the water, the lily pads, and the timeless scenes of hard work and romance shared by Joel, Mima, and the other Come Spring characters. A few words from the preface of Come Spring might serve to summarize the life and times of Lyle Cramer, as applicable to him now in 2020 as to the Union homesteaders of 1776: 'The people… were not individually as important as George Washington; the town they founded was not as important as New York. But people like them made this country, and towns like this one were and are the soils in which this country’s roots are grounded.'"

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