Frances Cramer


Frances Marie Cramer died on Sunday (Sept. 24, 2017) at Heartland Health Care Center in Paxton.

Frances was born on Nov. 9, 1920, in Danville to George and Olive (Francis) Magers. She attended grade school in Westville and graduated from Georgetown High School in 1938.

After earning her teaching certificate at Eastern Illinois Teachers College, she taught elementary school in Martinsville until she married Ernest F. "Bud" Cramer on Dec. 31, 1941.

Beside her parents, Fran was preceded in death by Ernest, her husband of 56 years; a daughter, the Rev. Jean Cramer-Heuerman; her son-in-law, Jack Cramer-Heuerman; and a grandson, Stephen Brockway.

She is survived by daughter, Mary Jo and husband, Lowell Brockway, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, as well as grandson and wife, John and Angela Brockway, in Hudson, Ohio. Fran delighted in her great-granddaughters, Abigail Marie and Aliana Grace, in Hudson, Ohio.

She is also survived by "adopted daughters," the Rev. Janet Eggleston of Galena and Kathy Finney of Rantoul, and special friend, Lavonne Smith of Paxton; as well as nieces, a nephew, great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.

Fran loved reading and continuing education, and she completed B.A. degrees from Eastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois in liberal arts and in Christian education.

Her love of music and the arts was evident in her support of the Art Institute of Chicago, National Museum for Women in the Arts, Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana, and programming on public radio and TV (UI's WILL).

She was a regular attender at concerts in the area, and she rarely missed an event at Krannert Center; she listened to opera on WILL every Saturday.

As a longtime member of Rantoul First United Methodist Church, Fran served as Sunday school teacher, delegate to annual conference, and held local and district leadership positions in Wesleyan Service Guild, Church Women United and United Methodist Women.

Fran was passionate about peace and social justice, and she received the Tolly-Cramer award in 2006 from Methodist Federation for Social Action for lay persons engaged in social justice ministries. She did her best to help others and support many causes.

In 1969, Fran was on the Founding Committee for the Clothing Center in Rantoul run by Church Women United, and she served as its volunteer director for over 30 years; she received several awards, including the Champaign County Friend of the Family award (1977), the Diana award for exceptional service to humanity (1980), Rantoul Citizen of the Year (1995), and the Church Women United Valiant Woman Award (2000).

Her family thanks the Heartland staff for their loving care during her stay, as well as the Transitions Hospice team for extra TLC and support during the last few months.

The service is at Rantoul First United Methodist Church, 200 S. Century Blvd., Rantoul, on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour before the service. She will be entombed at Mount Hope Cemetery, Urbana, at a later date.

In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family suggests donations be made to United Methodist Women, The Rantoul First United Methodist Church, or the charity of the donor's choice.