Date of death: 8/30/2022

Saint Meinrad Class: O 1977

Father Joseph Patrick Jude Cramer died August 30, 2022 at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 72.

Father Joe was a welcoming and vibrant pastor, known as an engaging and brief homilist. He created a welcoming atmosphere for families – especially children (handing out Dum-Dum lollipops). Fr. Joe encouraged children in their faith, which meant his Masses were filled with altar servers. If you wanted to serve, there was always space for you. Fr. Joe was even known to scoop up a crying baby during Mass (who would instantly calm) to assure the parents they belonged.

Born April 21, 1950, in Gardner, Kansas, Father Joe was the third of five children born to John (Jack) F. Cramer and Frances Cramer (nee McCormick). He attended St. Paul Grade School in Olathe and graduated from St. Joseph High School in Shawnee in 1968, then completed his theological studies at Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA. Father Joe was ordained to the Priesthood on May 28, 1977 by the Most Reverend Ignatius Strecker at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, KS.

For 11 years until 2017, Father Joe served as pastor of Divine Mercy Parish (previously named Sacred Heart), Gardner. Previously, he was pastor at St. Philip Neri, Osawatomie/Sacred Heart, Mound City/Our Lady of Lourdes, LaCygne; St. Gregory, Marysville & Beattie; St. Mary, Purcell; St. Leo, Horton, and in Reading, Kansas. Father Joe was an associate pastor at St. Paul, Olathe; Sacred Heart, Paxico (Temporary Administrator), Holy Name, Topeka; and Curé of Ars, Leawood. Father Joe also served as chaplain at Hayden High School, Bishop Miege High School, Emporia Campus Center and as a faculty member at Savior of the World Seminary.

Father Joe was a talented artist–creating detailed model train dioramas (including his childhood home), doll houses for grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and beautiful wood relief carvings of Saints (in particular his ancestor St. Oliver Plunkett). He loved to travel to Las Vegas with his mother Frances, eventually retiring there.

Father Joe is survived by brother John (Jennifer) Cramer, sisters Elizabeth (Bill) Pauly and Margaret Cramer; 8 nieces and nephews, 12 grand-nieces and grand-nephews; and his brother Priests. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Mary Catherine Flaherty, his brother-in-law Bill Flaherty, and many priestly brothers.