The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


February 9, 2013

John William Gramer

PORTLAND, Ore. — John William Gramer, 90, formerly of Clinton died on January 23, 2013 at the home he shared with his daughter, Sandra Gramer Stone in Portland, Oregon, when he went to his permanent Home with the Eternal God he loves. He was cremated. A memorial service will take place at Newlife Church, Woodbury, MN on Feb 9th at 2:30 p.m. with a luncheon afterward. Memorial services for friends and relatives in the Clinton area and the Winter Wisconsin area who are unable to attend in Minnesota are planned for later this summer on Aug 24th in the Winter WI area, and on Aug 31st at the Church of the Open Door in Clinton. An announcement will be placed in the Herald nearer to the date of the services. The Pape Funeral Home is assisting the family. Online condolences may be left at

John was born in Sterling, Illinois on May 5, 1922, the first son of William Henry and Grayce Gertrude (Kerr) Gramer. He graduated from Lyons High School in 1941. In between his first and second enlistments, John attended Augustana College, leaving to again join his younger brother George in the military. John married Astrid Ingeborg Oakleaf on April 15, 1951 at the Community Congregational Church in Clinton. Astrid died in Clinton on September 10, 2010.

John served 26 years with the United States military through three major military conflicts of the 20th century. He first enlisted in the Army Air Corps bugle corps during WWII and then served for 24 years with the US Air Force stationed in Guam and Occupied Japan during and following World War II , stateside during the Korean Conflict and peacetime and then at Than Son Nhut Air base in the former Republic of South Vietnam from 1965-1966 during the Viet Nam War. After retiring from USAF, John and Astrid returned to Clinton where they owned and operated Gramers’ Floral Corners and later Shavers Greenhouse in the Lyons area until 1980. John then worked with VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in Iowa from 1982-84 assisting in the relocation and assimilation of Southeast Asian refugees into their new lives in the eastern/central Iowa and western Illinois regions.

John came to trust in his personal relationship with Jesus in 1979 and he and Astrid began to attend the Church of the Open Door in Clinton as well as Victory Christian Fellowship in Winter Wisconsin. Previously, both had belonged to Community Congregational Church where they had been married and their children were confirmed. Upon his move to Portland, Oregon in 2011, John joined Sandra in attending Spring Mountain Bible Church.

John and Astrid enjoyed motor home travel in the West, Northwest, Southwest and beyond from the mid-1980s until 2006. After 37 years in Lyons on Pershing Blvd., they lived at Sarah Harding on South Bluff Blvd. in Clinton from 2008-2010, treasuring the unique fellowship and care afforded there. John cared selflessly for Astrid during her lengthy final illness. After Astrid’s death, John drove solo to Oregon in his motor home, via southern routes enjoyed with her in years past, journeying as far south as Texas and New Mexico before arriving - 4,100 miles later - safely in Portland to join Sandra.

In his final years John enjoyed reading theology such as John Bunyan's Pilgrim’s Progress, praying for his children and grandchildren and for pastors, and supporting Christian missions and programs through The Church of Open Door, The Berean Call, World Challenge, Voice of the Martyrs , Victory Christian Fellowship and the Salvation Army.  The cause of death was prostate cancer which had metastasized to his bones.

John is survived by his son: William O. (Bill) Gramer (Paula) of Cottage Grove MN. and his daughter, Sandra Gramer Stone, Portland, OR., as well as Bill and Paula’s nine children: William, Walter, Sandra, Pamela, Joanna, Philip, Eric, John and Rebekah, his godson Joseph Okpanachi (Amelia) of Red Bank, NJ and his sister-in-law Shirley (Steiner) Gramer of Clinton. In addition to Astrid and his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother George Kerr Gramer.

Death date: Jan. 23, 2013

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