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Claudia and Don Cramer

August 2018

Don Cramer was the one who dragged me kicking and screaming into the Order.  He humilated me in front of our area cadre to change my mind, how I was the ONLY hold out to have a family from every metro.  As you can see I am almost over it.  How I loved Claudia and Don.  He will be missed.

          ~~  Joan Knutson


Yes, Joan – Don was a forceful evangelist. Jan Campbell (my ex) and I had just moved into a house with a wooded lot, walking distance from my first engineering job at Nela Park – the GE Lamp Division in East Cleveland. All set for life in the suburbs. However we had taken RS-I (Frank Hilliard and Justin Morrill pedagogues) during our college days at CU Boulder, and had hooked up with the Cleveland Metro Cadre (Rafos’, Gilles’, Talbots, Wasons, Tippetts, Pools, Sean Burke, and many more…) So Don comes to our new place and says something like: “Why would a great young couple like you guys want to get tied down with a big old mortgage on a place in the suburbs?!?! And Sherwood, why would you want to get all tied up with a corporate giant like GE?!?!…A month later we moved into the Cleveland House with Herman and Joy Greene, Don and Claudia +.


Don loved to ‘practice’ his spirit lectures for RS-I, RSIIIA the Odyssey etc. on the wide-eyed interns at morning collegiums in the basement dining room…I think the rafters were scorched from his flaming deliveries. Classic chalk-talks long before Power Point. All of which launched me into an 18 year ‘tour of duty’ with OE on Global Assignment. Don’s ability to touch everyday spirit issues through conversations and spins was a powerful gift. Thanks, Don, for the stories, the spirit pushes and laughter all along the way! To Kristen and Mark and the Cramer family connections…be well as you celebrate your Dad’s amazing journey and the bending of many journeys. Grace and Peace, much love all around.

          ~~  Eunice and Sherwood Shankland


You’re right on target, Sherwood, though I don’t know how “wide-eyed” I ever was at five a.m. More like bleary-eyed in my case. Don Cramer was SO “on” all the time that it is as though you couldn’t turn him off if you tried. And a perfect match for Claudia. What a “power couple”–literally! (Maybe they ran on caffeine by the gallon.)


So what did the O:E in its profound wisdom do to best utilize (or exploit) the unique interpersonal gifts of priorship that the always-on Don Cramer had in such abundance? Why of course, we assigned him to run the always-on, round-the-clock print shop! Forget that he knew diddly-squat about how to keep that monster two-color offset printing press up and running 24-7. He got a lot of on-the-job training and learned it lightning fast. Then after lots of double and triple shifts during the week, we sent him out to teach RS-1 every weekend. Just to cool him down, don’tcha know.


I had way too much work to do just to keep the print shop fed with camera-ready copy. And after too many bleary-eyed late nights pasting up the i.e., I utterly failed to catch a HUGE ERROR. Totally my fault, of course, and it was BIG ENOUGH to jump right out at anybody who was half awake (we weren’t!). In the headline for the lead article on our work in Hong Kong, I had pasted up the title as “Kong Hong”!! With the ‘Kong’ above the ‘Hong’ on the page.


Well of course the bleary-eyed Don Cramer and his bleary-eyed crew didn’t catch it either. They shot the negatives and burned the offset plates at 4 am and proceeded to print up THOUSANDS of copies without even looking at the result. Until somebody caught it by chance next morning. Probably a fresh-faced new intern!


So of course we had accidentally spent a ton of $$ that we didn’t have–we were in debt up to our bleary eyeballs–and Cramer actually proposed that maybe we should send it out that way–maybe nobody would catch it or maybe they would see it as some kinda “cute” intentional typographic design. All rationalizations, of course, for our HUGE corporate blunder.


Finally Joe Mathews said, No, we’re gonna eat that mistake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And fix it fast and reprint the whole thing ASAP and get the print shop back on schedule (remember, we were also printing all those seminar papers that went out the door every weekend and literally TONS of other stuff like IMAGE). I don’t know what we did with all that scrap paper.


This is all about living in the real world of taking corporate responsibility for owning and fixing and paying for our mistakes. And learning that we are all responsible together for every mistake any one of us makes. But somehow we never learned to go easy on ourselves, as well as to pronounce absolution on one another for our major goofs and get some much-needed sleep occasionally.


So in my old age (turning 78 in 3 weeks), I salute the fabulous Don Cramer and all of our other wonderful colleagues who have departed this earthly life. Remember that in the Other World there are no mistakes. Grace and Peace,

          ~~  Marshall Jones

I was very grateful for the opportunity to visit Don once in Bellingham WAY more than 2 decades ago. We were older and maybe a little wiser, but he was the same delightful Don Cramer.

Don won a poetry contest with his poem “My Ladder”

Don Cramer illuminates important life dynamics in these messages:

A Discontinuity

The Transformation     

Encounter the complete interview with Don Cramer

Another veteran of our community has left – I remember working with him in India, teaching in the ITIs and in the Philippines. I will remember his passion and enthusiasm.

          ~~  Dharma


His humor provided much relief to remind us all not to take ourselves too seriously.  His laugh was infectious.  So grateful for his caring and wise leadership.  Care and peace to his family.  Also Grace and Peace!

          ~~  Lynda and John


I worked with Don Cramer in the Local Church Experiment in 1972- 1973. So clear, so down to earth and yet so inviting to the world of spirit.

          ~~  Mary D’Souza



Don’s mountain climbing stories continue to flow through my memory, stories about life that came from his climbs, and the drama that he provided in telling the tales.  His voice, he loved to sing, I share that passion!  One other very strong memory,  Don, along with Regine Izerta from the Cleveland House back in 1970, was assigned ( perhaps self-assigned) to encourage our family to intern in the Cleveland House.  We had already decided to do so but not until fall of 1971, making the Academy our preparatory activity in January 1971.  Don, and Claudia continued to play a significant role in the life of the Lanphear family as so many of us showed up in the Seattle area after the late 80’s. Thank you Don!  With love,

          ~~  Nancy Lanphear



We are grieved to hear that Don has completed his life, and grateful to have known and worked with him. He was a person of passionate intensity and infectious authenticity – traits which made it impossible to resist a request (or assignment) he made. He was a wizard at discerning and exorcising the demons that made us resist doing the “necessary deed.” In the wizard world, he seems more like Hagrid than Dumbledore, mainly because of his love for the outdoors, his care for those in his keep and his devotion to the mission.

          ~~  Ann & John Epps


Don was the 1st among equals at the Cleveland R.H. where Pat and I first interned in 1969-70.  I was blown away how he and Claudia could be so focused on  mission and yet be so charming.

          ~~  Terry Weygandt


Wesley and I were close friends with Don and Claudia since moving to Seattle from Calcutta in 1986. At Claudia’s urging, Don and I became business partners and worked together for about ten years, doing strategic planning with corporations and government agencies in the Seattle area. He had an office in the back room of our apartment and I had one in the dining room. We and all the neighbors usually knew when he was coming from their third-floor apartment down to ours on the first floor, as he usually whistled all the way. He was delightful to work with, upbeat, creative, and dedicated to the work, even when the going got tough. I will remember Don’s joyful sense of humor, his infectious laugh, his ease and openness with all kinds of people and situations, and his great love of the outdoors. We miss him already.

          ~~  Sharry Lachman