Richard "Doc" John Kraemer

November 13th, 1934May 31st, 2022

Most people, on admiring that signature mustache, on hearing that unmistakable laugh or catching that twinkle in those pale blue eyes might not have ever guessed what complexity lay behind that good lookin’ facade.

It took some time to recognize his brilliant mind, his deep humanity, his self confidence. It took some time to discover his unflinching love of family and friends, his generosity, his sense of fair play. It took some time to appreciate his love of both opera and country music, of his superb fly casting ability and of his love for a well-told joke.

Those of us lucky enough to have had that sufficient time to come to truly know him and love him so deeply are saddened to tell our world of his death. Richard John Kraemer died on a Tuesday evening, May 31, 2022, while in the Tru Community Hospice Center in Longmont, Colorado due to injuries from a fall and complications of the resulting subdural hematoma. For the past six years he had stoically endured an onslaught of critical medical challenges that ravaged his good health and led to his demise. While his body failed him, the man we loved was always there: humor, wit and intelligence intact.

Born in 1934 in Madison, Wisconsin to Martha and Frederick Kraemer, he lived with his mother and sister Donna and their Norwegian grandmother, Matilda Solheim. When his mother remarried to begin a new family and move around the country he spent less and less time in school. After a brush with the law in Seattle involving some missing golf clubs, he was returned to Madison to live with his beloved Kraemer grandparents, Lewis and Agnes Kraemer, at 808 Oakland Ave. Finally attending classes on a regular basis, he spent two years at West High School, where he excelled academically, athletically and socially. He sought out “the smart kids” and became life-long friends with many of these dear people. A two year stint in the Navy as an electronics technician, Third Class, and the running of a long term lucrative poker game provided the funds to enroll at the University of Wisconsin. Following in the footsteps of notable Kraemer chemists and his cousin Rodney Sime, he decided to use his love of Chemistry and Anatomy to study for advanced degrees in Pharmacology. While at UW, he met and fell in love with a perky nursing student, Eleanor B. Zolt, and they were married in 1959. Their three daughters were each born in a different “college town” while he was pursuing his B.S., M.S., Ph.D., and Postdoctoral Fellowship: Madison, Denver, Baltimore. He especially valued his three years as a Post Doctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and remained close friends with his colleagues there.

 Dr Kraemer was a respected, hard working Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology at the UW School of Medicine where he excelled at creating curriculum and teaching medical and graduate students. When he was offered the position of Assistant Dean of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Colorado, while admittedly not an administrator, he happily accepted this offer in order to return to the pure research opportunities afforded to that level of academia. He loved being a scientist, loved the challenge of discovery. Alas, the assistant dean position did not work out the way he wanted and he left the academic world behind, but remained close friends with another group of colleagues. He made good use of the scientific methods he so loved in becoming an entrepreneur and establishing companies based on new discoveries. He had to learn about business and money first and became a stockbroker to accomplish that goal where he made another raft of friends who remain close to this day. These friends re-named him Doc. Some of his companies fared well. Others, not so much. His business led him around the world, meeting with fascinating international investors, business people and here and there, a few brigands. Closer to home, he chanced upon the lovely Linda Ostrander Norris at the Celestial Seasonings store. Their first date was at “The Med” and they both knew right away that they were in for something very special. They were rarely apart for the next 32 years, creating a marriage and a passionate love story for the ages.

 Doc finished his professional career at the INSTAAR Stable Isotope Laboratory where he manned a mass spectrometer and doled out medical advice, evolutionary theories, favorite well-worn phrases and influenced another group of smart people. Doc will forever be known for his brilliance and resilience, but also for the great joy of life he brought to every occasion. He was proud of his Norwegian heritage, proud to be a progressive democrat and proud of his contributions to the advancement of science.

Richard Kraemer is survived by his beloved Linda Norris, his family of daughters and spouses: Kristin and James White, Susan and David Valdez, Jennifer Kraemer and William Culkin. Step-children Sara Oclassen and Michael Carpenter, Wyatt Norris and Allie Cuffel, and his sister in law Kay Stoakes, ten grandchildren, five great grandchildren. Also surviving is his his sister Donna and her husband Bill Albers, his aunt Mary Lou Bennett, his cousin Anne Bennett and husband Doug Driscoll, his former wife Eleanor Kramer and many Kraemer and Solheim cousins, nieces, nephews and sisters Jeaneen Hamlett, Kelly Ciprian and Diane Kraemer.


 A reception to honor this remarkable man and share stories of his life will be held August 13, 2022 at 1:00 PM in the Chancellor’s Hall at the Case Building, 1725 Euclid Avenue on the CU Boulder campus. Parking is available on the lower level, elevator to the West 4th floor. If you so desire, contributions in his name will be appreciated by two of his favored organizations, The Nature Conservancy and Oxfam America.