Monday, October 24, 2022
Angela Kramer Eulogy
Angela Christine Kramer: loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Angela was an Oshawa girl, born and raised. Say what you want about the city that moto-vates Canada – the ‘shwa as it’s lovingly known by the locals – but from my experience it’s produced many of the best people I know. Born in 1964 Angela was first a devoted daughter to her parents, Jim and Brenda; and sister to older brother Greg and baby sister Wendy. Angela is responsible for Wendy’s name: taken from the Peter Pan stories; Peter says to Wendy, “I’ll teach you how to jump on the wind’s back, and then away we go.” Angela continued to do that all her life, with all of the people in her life.
Angela was a graduate of Paul Dwyer Catholic High School and earned a business degree from Kings College at Western. From a teenager on, in what seems like a very short 40 some odd years, Angela balanced family, friends, travel and work. Angela’s first job was as a teen at Burger King and she’s worked continuously since. When I first met her, she was a store manager at Toys R Us and living with her roommate Chris in a “quaint?” two-bedroom on Rossland. From there she managed stores and territories for Eddie Bauer, Bath & Body Works, David’s Tea and most recently nationwide for Claire’s. I was always fascinated by her adept ability in the business world and her fearless career moves. To Mark’s chagrin I was always happy to get her talking about work when we were at family get-togethers. Angela loved to work. In that she was a brilliant example for her children. I’m sure that when she met St. Peter at the pearly gates last weekend she submitted her resume as a continuation of her upward mobility.
Speaking of good hires, Angela met Mark when she hired him at Eddie Bauer. Breaching company policy within a week, Angela asked him out on their first date. After a whirlwind romance, together with family they celebrated a beautiful wedding in Scarborough and on the grounds of the Guild Inn, a place both timeless and playful. Mark and Angela settled in Uxbridge and together raised two wonderful children in Gwen and Hayden. Angela very much loved Mark’s family and his parents, Rudy and Narnie who live the example of couplehood. This past Wednesday was Mark and Angela’s 25th wedding anniversary.
Gwen shares her mother’s love of adventure and fearlessness. Gwen was the tiniest at birth, but is instilled with so much of her mother’s pluck and spirit – taking all of life’s opportunities without regret. Gwen is also a graduate of Kings College and has made her mother very proud by entering her chosen field of Human Resources and striking out on her own in London. Recently my clumsy fingers dialled Angela on my cell phone while trying to call Wendy. I hung up thinking the call didn’t go through but Angela saw my number and called me back. We talked about how she was doing and about how our kids were doing. It was a random, middle-of-the-day moment, but Angela was so excited to tell me all about how Gwen had just re-negotiated the terms of her employment and the travel Gwen was both coming back from and going to. She also had some financial advice for you Gwen that I’ll send in an email later in case you didn’t catch it. Gwen, continue to be spirited just like your mother.
Hayden has all the qualities of his mother – notably a sense of wonder at the world and appreciation for the people close to him within it. He is kind, honest, humble, friendly, and inquisitive. He’s the kind of person it just feels good to be around. He’s studying to be a teacher at Trent University, and as someone who has been a teacher for almost 25 years now, I know he’ll be amazing at it. No matter how well you learn to clean the chalk brushes in teachers’ college, most of what we do in our profession is shape young people in to good adults – and that’s what Angela has done with Hayden: raised a good adult. Hayden, most of the specific skills you need in your profession you’ll learn when you get there. As your mother always was, just be you up there.
There has been lots of great family time for many of us with the Cushings & Kramers over the years. Mark and Angela loved these socials and we recently had a couple of great ones after Angela’s tragic diagnosis at Erica & John’s and back at their place on Rachel Lee where there is a surprising new addition in Mocha – the dog Angela always wanted. Mark and Angela were always wonderful hosts: great food, drink, talk and some so-so party singing. What they were maybe not so great at is flip-cup, but the children can pass that one on to the next generation.
In the last days, Erica and Wendy both shared that Angela was still able to command the room – even if that room was the ICU – delivering instructions to relay to work, directing logistics for what was to come over the next week, and sharing with Mark how glad she was that he married her all those years ago. Mark, has been and is, for more than a quarter century, a source of strength, reliability and comfort for Angela.
The parts of our lives that we share with Angela and her family, the turkey, the desserts, the game nights, the conversation, the acceptance and the challenging of person and character, the freedom to chart our lives and the necessary integrity of self that is required to fulfill your dreams is part of a long lineage of good people and Angela’s legacy is both a marker on that line, but through her husband Mark, and children Gwen and Hayden, a direction forward in to the future.
In Angela’s old home movies from her childhood she is clearly happy to be on road trips in the station wagon to Ottawa, the East Coast and Florida. It’s a little tough to tell from the grainy, 8mm videos as they trumble through the projector, but it seems like Angela is not just visiting the happiest places on earth – the happiest places on earth are where Angela is. Jump on the wind’s back, Angela; away you go.