Jack Kramer, Diocese of Knoxville’s early director of Hispanic Ministry, dies

A funeral Mass was celebrated July 23 for John Anthony “Jack” Kramer Jr., who served as the Diocese of Knoxville’s co-director and then director of Hispanic Ministry from 1989-2003.

Mr. Kramer died after a 25-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Father Doug Owens, pastor of All Saints Church in Knoxville, was the funeral Mass celebrant and homilist.

A graveside service with full military honors was held at the East Tennessee State Veteran’s Cemetery.

Mr. Kramer is survived by his wife of 36 years, Kathleen, who was a longtime teacher at St. Joseph School; son, Tonda; brother, Larry; as well his beloved nieces and nephews and their children.

Mr. Kramer graduated from St. Bernard’s College in Cullman, Ala., and was commissioned in the Navy in 1966, where he served as a lieutenant until he shattered his foot in an accident and was honorably discharged.

He then traveled around Europe and lived in Seville, Spain, for almost five years, where he developed a deep love of Hispanic culture and language. Returning to the United States, he worked as a pastoral associate with two rural Glenmary parishes in Middle Tennessee.

A year after the Diocese of Knoxville was formed in 1988, Mr. Kramer and his family moved to Knoxville so he could serve as co-director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville.

He later became the director. Parkinson’s disease forced his early retirement in 2003.

His interests included genealogy, and many family vacations involved library microfilm and microfiche searches before the days of Genealogy.com. He loved to play with words and created his own anagrams, ambigrams, and palindromes, which he shared online and in hard copy with his friends and family.

Before he was wheelchair bound, he could be found working in the yard or building wooden shrines, such as he had seen along the roads of Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.