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Utah Golf Hall of Famer Dick Kramer Dies at 96

Dick Kramer, who was head professional at Bonneville Golf Course for 53 years, passed away at his home, October 9, 2015 at the age of 96.

“He died peacefully and was ready to go,” said his long-time friend and fellow golf professional, Tommy Reese. “He was a great and kind man, and was a Utah golf icon,” he said. “His death is a natural time for reflection on the influence he had on the lives of so many golfers in Utah,” Reese added.

“Dick was a wonderful golf instructor and taught many people how to play the game,” Reese said, “but he also taught many kids how to work and even made golf professionals out of some of them.”

On Wednesday, October 14th, there will be a gathering of family and friends beginning at 10 a.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary located at 3402 South Highland Drive, and that will be followed by a celebration of his life in the mortuary chapel from 11 a.m. to noon.

Dick Kramer

Obituary

Salt Lake Tribune

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Written by his Son Richard

 

I once heard that Dick was born, raised and died at Bonneville Golf course, although his parents Herman and Doretta Kramer said otherwise.

He may have even wrestled a few grizzly bears up at Bonnie. After 55 years of being the Pro at Bonneville this is true in many ways. As I remember hearing his wife Doris (she proclaimed herself a golf widow many years ago) speaking about the subject, I believe it is true. He spent every day at the course; spring, summer, fall and winter, I believe he only missed 3 days of not spending at least several hours at the course. Well, there were the Christmas trips up to Oregon to see the grandkids, but it was back to Bonnie once he and Doris returned home. Growing up during the depression, he and his brothers understood the meaning of hard work and going without.

An outstanding athlete just like his brothers Sid, Les and Tom, Dick could have excelled at any sport and did at several. He was “All State” at Granite High School and played basketball and football at the U of U, but golf was the game he truly loved. Dick was self-taught and never took a golf lesson. While working as a caddie at Salt Lake Country Club, he borrowed a members set of clubs and won the caddies tournament, walking away with his first set of clubs. Several years later Dick won his first recognized tournament, the Utah Copper Amateur in 1941 which started the ride of a lifetime, winning many local and regional tournaments. Dick worked for Mountain Fuel as a meter reader and then as a deputy Sherriff when he was asked to become the Head Pro at Bonneville which he couldn't turn down, that was 1943.

 
In '44 and '45 he served in the navy during the war on a troop transport ship, those were the only years away from Bonneville. He had several jobs in the Navy, one being the escort for the Captain of the ship. For years I remember The Bonneville Pro being referred to as the “Big Hitter from Bonneville!” As we walked down the fairway during a golf tournament Dick stated, “I don't hit the ball that far, a lot of the young kids playing the game today hit the ball a lot farther than I do!” Of course this was his last tournament win in 1970; I believe he was 51 at the time. While the Pro at Bonneville he gave many young kids a job and their first taste of playing golf as he did for me. Golf is a gentlemen's game and Dick was always a gentlemen whether on the golf course, greeting golfers in the golf shop or in public. After retiring in 2000 at 81, we would play golf several times a week in the evenings at Bonneville. He spent most of the time replacing the divots, repairing the ball marks on greens and picking up the litter he found while we played, just as he had done for the past 60 plus years. He was 88 the last time he played.

Dick lived a long and healthy life and lived it his way! After 96 years of hard work and out-living his three brothers Sid, Les and Tom, two wives Doris Swenson and Betty Pedersen, his daughter Shannon Stevens, a grandson Sgt. Aaron Kramer and most of his many long time friends and golf buddies, it was time for Dick to move on to a new course which he did on October the 9th.

Dick leaves behind his son Rick, eight grandkids and twenty-eight great grand kids. Please, he wanted no flowers, rather to make donations to The American Cancer Society in memory of his daughter Shannon or to The Fisher House or the Wounded Warrior Project in memory of his grandson Aaron.

Friends are invited to come and meet with family and friends at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary located at 3401 So Highland Drive on Wednesday October the 14th from 10 to 11 a.m. that morning. After there will be a celebration of his life in the chapel, 11 a.m. to noon with the graveside service to follow. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?pid=176074058#sthash.sJOtw0rN.dpuf

 

 

Dick Kramer

Inducted into Utah Golf Hall of Fame, 1998

Inscription on Plaque

 

Dick Kramer, 77, has been the head professional at Bonneville Golf Course in Salt Lake City for more than half a century and has earned legions of friends among Utah golfers. No golf professional in Utah has ever been a club professional for 53 years, and Kramer has done it all at one club.

He was born and raised in Salt Lake City and was an all-state performer at Granite High School in 1937 in both football and basketball and played both sports at the University of Utah.

He was named head professional at Bonneville in 1943, and except for a two-year stint in the Navy, has held that position through his induction date into the Utah Golf Hall of Fame.

He won many professional tournaments on the Utah circuit, and also won the Idaho Open. He is also recognized as an outstanding golf teacher.

He served as President of the Rocky Mountain Section of the PGA and has received the Professional of the Year Award and a Special Achievement Award from the Utah Section of the PGA.

He has conducted the Salt Lake City Amateur since 1943 and the City Parks Open from the early 50s.

Bonneville has been the training ground for thousands of golfers and many of those them have continued to serve golf in all facets of the industry. He trained many youngsters to be club professionals and greenskeepers.

He married Doris Swenson and they had two children, Shannon (deceased) and Richard Kramer, Jr