Main entrance to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An advocate for Israel, philanthropist, entrepreneur, husband, father and grandfather – Gerry Cramer played many roles in his long and storied life. At the age of 87, on February 13, Cramer passed away in Miami Beach, Florida.
Cramer dedicated significant time and finances to philanthropy, much of it within Israel. One chief recipient of his boundless generosity was Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, for which he was a major benefactor. In addition to supporting Israel’s national hospital financially, Cramer played an important role in promoting Sheba’s mission and inspiring others to support the world-class institution.
He considered the quality of life for people suffering without a cure for their illnesses to be of paramount importance. Cramer helped establish and build up Sheba’s ability to provide palliative care for cancer patients and lighten their suffering.
Much of Cramer’s energy and resources were dedicated to strengthening the Jewish state, and his support for worthy causes extended far beyond the impressive walls of Sheba Medical Center. He and his wife spent several months each year in Tel Aviv, where he worked to establish boys’ and girls’ clubs for displaced Ethiopian children. The couple also founded an exchange program between the Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and IDC-Herzliya’s International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
In addition to his tireless work in Israel, Cramer was also committed to making a difference in the United States. He served as trustee and vice chairman of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees, trustee of St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and board member of the Glaucoma Foundation and the National Road Safety Foundation, among many other causes.
Born to Lithuanian parents Myron and Kate Cramer in Utica, New York, Cramer was the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Syracuse University in 1952 with a BS in accounting. He continued his studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling in the US Navy during the Korean War. He served with pride and distinction as lieutenant on the USS Crook County LST-611
Cramer began his illustrious career at Merrill Lynch, followed by A.M. Kidder & Company and Oppenheimer, before going on to found his own investment advisory firm with partners Edward J. Rosenthal and Ronald McGlynn: Cramer Rosenthal & McGlynn. He retired in 2010.
In 2004, Cramer was awarded the first-ever Maxwell School Horizon Award, which was “established to recognize wise, inspirational volunteer leadership combined with exceptional philanthropic commitment.” He also received the Arents Award for outstanding achievements, the highest honor bestowed by Syracuse University, in 2006.
A mentor, partner and inspiration to many, Cramer’s life is chronicled in his memoir Bullish on Life
. He is survived by six children and 17 grandchildren, and his impact has been felt across the world – and especially in Israel.
The State of Israel and the Jewish people are saddened to have lost a remarkable friend, but his memory and legacy will live on for years to come.The author is the director general of the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.