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Father Kramper, a loved member of the community for seven years, is retiring next year.
A man who has truly lived his life to serve others, Father Kramper has dedicated his time in the area to giving back to the community.
“Every penny he has, he gives away to others,” said Kelly Kerkman, a member of one of Father Kramper’s parishes who has helped St. Theresa's organize the benefit. “He has the second hand store in Clearwater-Ewing. You take your stuff there and he sells it, and he just donates that money to anybody and everybody in need.”
Now, the community is rallying to give back to Father Kramper.
“We’re having a fundraiser,” said Kerkman, “and we’re calling it his birthday party. We’re gonna have a meal and it’s a free will donation. Proceeds go towards his ‘Casa de Paz’.”
Casa de Paz, which will be located in the New Castle area, about two hours from Clearwater, has been a dream of Father Kramper for years.
In true Father Kramper fashion, he does not want Casa de Paz to be just his retirement home. Father Kramper’s plan for Casa de Paz is to be used as a retreat.
“He’s gonna live there,” explained Kerkman, “but he’ll have different weekend retreats up there, and everybody who goes through there is welcome to stay.”
There are plans to put a windmill in the property as well, and Father Kramper has been travelling around the country finding unique antiques with which to furnish Casa de Paz.
Father Kramper’s birthday celebration will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 with mass at St. Theresa Mission, the Catholic church in Clearwater.
Kerkman explained that to have mass at four is a “really big deal.” “You’re not supposed to have church before five, but they made an exception for this so we’re expecting a huge crowd. We’re gonna eat right after and we’re gonna eat till nine or 10 o’clock. So if you can’t come till 9 o’clock it’s no big deal.”
The meal will be catered by L-Bar-B, and will end with cake and ice cream, in honor of Father Kramper’s love for Blue Bunny ice cream.
Although the party is starting at St. Teresa’s church in Clearwater, after dinner it’ll move to Main Street by the Legion.
“We’ll have some kids things like a bouncy house and a little train, to keep the kids entertained,” Kerkman explained. “There will also be some music.” And of course, lots of stories about Father.
Kerkman said that in planning Father Kramper’s birthday party, the Clearwater community reached out to Father Kramper’s past parishes, and many expressed their desire to join the celebration. “We ordered 700 meals and we expect to sell them all.”
Although the community is sad to see Father Kramper go next year, everyone is excited to support the man who has given so much to others.
As Kerkman plainly said, Father Kramper is just “a great human being.”