Saying Goodbye to Barbara Kramer

On January 8 Ann Arbor lost Barbara Kramer, one of its most beloved citizens, who was actively engaged in seemingly every aspect of our civil life.

Kramer was born in New York City in 1946 and came to Ann Arbor as an infant. Her mother, Lillian Lampe, was a piano teacher. Kramer attended Ann Arbor High School (now Pioneer) and graduated in 1963, after which she spent one year at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor where, among other things, she took part in theatre matters. She started listening to blues bands at Clint’s Club on 111 East Ann St. and her music interests also extended to studying classical flute. In 1969 she moved to New York City where continued her involvement in music and theatre. She eventually returned to Ann Arbor and where she worked for thirty years as an administrator in at the University of Michigan Hospital.

Kramer was a community activist most of her life, engaged in helping people by actively assisting volunteer organizations, working occasionally as a theatrical stage manager, serving on the boards (often acting as chair) of the HIV/AIDS Resource Center (HARC), the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts, Jazzistry, the Kerrytown Concert House, among others. She joined the Ann Arbor City Club in 2013 and was an enthusiastic member ever since then. SEMJA was fortunate to benefit from her organizational experience, energy, sense of humor and love of jazz as a Board Member and SEMJA Treasurer. She was a tireless supporter of the local jazz scene, present at many concerts and a regular attendee at venues such as the Zal Gaz Grotto, the Raven’s Club or in earlier years at the Bird of Paradise and Firefly. She knew almost every local musician, and many of them can count her as a dear friend, as do numerous visiting players, including those who came to Edgefest, where she was a regular helper.

Kramer passed away surrounded by her family. She left behind her long-time husband Ron and two sons Jesse and Noah. Jesse Kramer is a prominent Detroit area drummer who leads his own trio; Barbara was a proud supporter of his art and attended his gigs whenever she could.