Kelly Ann Kramer (9/27/1988 – 8/3/2014)
Kelly Ann Kramer’s favorite song was Eric Church’s “Those I’ve Loved.” The song’s narrator tells of his gratitude for family and friends and how they became his life. It’s no wonder that Kelly was fond of it. Her life was about just that – expressing love for others. Her friendships were strong and enduring, as was her love for her family. Family, friends, co-workers and nearly everyone who met her spoke of her great smile and infectious laugh – they were only part of the way she cared.
Kelly was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 27, 1988 to Constance Ashyk Kramer (Connie) and Dale Robert Kramer. Shortly after her birth the family moved from Cleveland to North Ridgeville, Ohio where Kelly and her older brother Dennis Dale Kramer were raised.
Kelly began pre-school in 1991 at age 3 where for two years she attended Calvary Ridge Church of the Nazarene Christian Day Care. Then, and through the next several years, Kelly spent much of her time hanging out with Dennis, her brother, and Adam Taseff, his friend from across the street.
The three buds rode their bikes around the neighborhood, built forts, hosted events such as baseball card shows, established a lemonade/Kool Aid stand, and participated in other childhood activities. They even named themselves the “ADK Corporation” and tried to make money by selling their goods and charging admission to their shows.
“I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for those I’ve loved along the way…”
During these years, Kelly also befriended Danielle, another neighbor. The two would attend the same schools – even college – together and remained forever close.
Kelly went to kindergarten and grade school at St. Peter in North Ridgeville. She was a strong student and always maintained exceptionally high grades. She took her studies seriously and worked hard, even while enjoying extra-curricular fun. She made wonderful friends – Katie, Colleen, Allison, Val, and many others at St. Peter’s; she also kept them close for the rest of her life.
Kelly and her friends participated in CYO basketball at St. Peter; her mom Connie coached the team. The team, the St. Peter Saints included some gifted athletes and others who gave tremendous effort during each and every game.
Kelly’s spirit and support of her friends was evident even in grade school. Her attitude was a strong influence on her team; no matter how tough the practice or the game, she gave her all and stayed positive. It always rubbed off on her teammates. She wasn’t the team captain or a formal leader, but her enthusiasm was contagious and the team followed her lead without even knowing it. The girls formed a tight bond and learned a great deal about life.
Kelly graduated from St. Peter in 2003. Many of her friends stayed together as they moved on to Elyria Catholic High School in Elyria, Ohio. Of course, she made new friends in high school too numerous to mention all the names and formed strong and lasting relationships with them, too.
Kelly earned excellent grades in high school and became involved in extracurricular activities. During her freshman year she was on the basketball team, then became the Panthers’ statistician. After freshman year, she joined the soccer team and developed a real passion for the game. She contributed a tremendous spirit – if not many goals - that helped her teammates become the best they could be.
Kelly also got her first paying job during her teen years working at the North Ridgeville Dairy Queen.
Many of the neighborhood kids, including Dennis and Adam, worked at the Dairy Queen, so Kelly followed a grand tradition. While working at the DQ she became friends with Jackie Cassidy and they became very close. While at DQ, Jackie introduced Kelly to her good friend Devin Ballard and the three became the best of friends. They shared hopes, challenges, dreams, and happy times; all three even were roommates for three years in college.
“She was my best friend and it broke my heart, but I don’t regret the day that she became one of those I’ve loved along the way…
Kelly was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated from Elyria Catholic in 2007. Before she did, some of her outside interests began flourishing; they included the Cleveland Browns, tailgating and country music.
After high school, Kelly’s next stop was the University of Toledo, where she studied marketing and professional sales.
True to form, she earned a high grade point average. Along with Jackie and Devin, Kelly rushed Pi Beta Phi sorority. She committed much time and energy to supporting her sisters and participating in sorority events and charities.
Kelly graduated, with her double major, magna cum laude from Toledo in 2011. After college, she returned home to Cleveland to accept a position with Sherwin-Williams Co. in its stores division.
Following a brief training period she was appointed an assistant manager at the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio store. After only four months as an assistant manager she was promoted to store manager. At that time, Sherwin Williams owned over 2500 stores worldwide. Kelly was the youngest store manager in the entire company. She thrived in that role for another year until she again was promoted, to a regional sales representative position in the eastern Lorain County and western Cuyahoga County area. Her talent, professionalism, work ethic, helpfulness and poise impressed her co-workers, managers and customers.
On March 21, 2014 Kelly’s brother, Dennis and his wife Jen had their first child, Adriana Marie Kramer, and Kelly became an aunt. Dennis and Jen asked Kelly to be Adriana’s godmother and she joyously accepted the responsibility.
“’Cause where would we all be without those fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers….”
Later that year, on the night of Sunday Aug. 3, 2014 Kelly Ann Kramer died in a car accident on Interstate 90 in Westlake, Ohio at the age of 25.
On Aug. 4, the next night, hundreds of those she loved, Kelly’s friends and family, gathered at Elyria Catholic High School to mourn her passing. Even more attended her wake and funeral services at St. Peter.
This Foundation seeks to carry on the spirit, positive influence and love for others that Kelly Ann Kramer embodied throughout her life.
““You see, they’re my best friends, they’re the life I live. And I hope they’ve put a smile on the face of those that I’ve loved along the way….” Eric Church