The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


June 25, 2013

A Don McCormack column: 'I've been given a gift'

One month ago tomorrow, Ron Cramer lay down dead on an Ashtabula street. Now, he vows to live each and every day to its fullest


Saving a life

With Dr. Agiannatassio hard at work, EMT personnel arrived on the scene.

“They rushed me to Ashtabula County Medical Center, where my heart was going absolutely crazy!” Ron said. “It was going completely irregular. I remember being at ACMC in the emergency room. When they shocked me and brought it back to normal, they put me on a helicopter and flew me to Cleveland Clinic, where they put a stint into one of my arteries.”

But as is usually the case with any story, and most certainly when a saga such as this plays out, there are several more layers to it.

The EMT administered a defibrillator on the way to the hospital and, well, what happened next is better left to Ron himself to explain.

“I immediately sat straight up and then started laughing,” he said. “The EMTs said they’ve never seen anything like it.”

Brought back from the brink, Ron’s trademark sense of humor didn’t stop there, either.

“When they loaded me onto the helicopter to fly me to the Cleveland Clinic, I asked what the in-flight movie was,” he said through another laugh.

Settling in

Ron admits he’s amazed at just how quickly his life returned to a sense of normalcy, or at least some semblance of it, anyway.

“Three and a half days after I entered the Cleveland Clinic, I’m out of the hospital and walking around with a wearable defibrillator,” he said. “It’s certainly not convenient... it weighs 5 to 6 pounds and, yeah, it’s a bit of a burden, but I really don’t mind.

“It sure beats the alternative!”

One beloved guy

Ron Cramer could run for mayor in Jefferson. Known as a big man with a big heart, he retired three years ago after 35 years as a teacher in the Jefferson district, spent mostly in the sixth grade.

His three and a half decades spent interacting and teaching young people in the community, on top of his dedicated work within the church, where his wife, Pat, has been administrative assistant since December 1993, have pretty much made Ron Cramer The Man About Town.

Then, there’s their family.

Ron and Pat have raised two sons.

Matt, a 1998 Jefferson graduate and a Liberty University graduate, and his wife, Alvina, have a 25-month-old son, Kingsley. They live in Morovia, Liberia, where Matt is the country’s director for Orphan Relief and Rescue.

James, a 2000 Jefferson graduate and a Kent State graduate, and his wife, Becca, live in Kinshasa, which is the largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he is teaching English.

In other words, the Cramer family has been — and continues — to be caring, giving people.

“It’s a good life,” Ron said. “God has blessed me in so many ways, I can’t even begin to count them.”

He does, though, know where to start.

“My wife is such a blessing,” he said.

The couple met in high school at Wheatfield Senior High School in Niagara, N.Y., where they were both members of the Class of 1971.

Not surprising to anyone who knows the couple, Ron knows all the details of their first date.

“Our first date was on April 17, 1981!” he said. “We went to see a movie, Cold Turkey, starring Dick Van Dyke and Hope Lange.”

After high school, Ron went on to study Christian ministries at Malone University. Pat moved on to Niagara County Community College, where she studied secretarial science.

The rest is history... ongoing history, thankfully.

The Cramers will celebrate 39 years of marriage on July 27 — two months to the day Ron’s life ended... and restarted.

“Pat keeps me on the straight and, mostly, narrow,” Ron says, breaking into his trademark boisterous laugh.

Text Only
  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • valor A valiant effort

    Paralympians from all over the United States experienced three days of competition, education and fun during the Valor Games Gold Medal Camp at Spire this weekend.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • swim SUMMER SWIM

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anthony From player to coach

    When former Lakeside offensive lineman Anthony Colucci went down with a broken leg in Week 6 of his senior year at Capital University, he got a peak into what his future in football looks like.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video