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OBITUARY | Gordon Edward Kraemer, 91, of Richfield, WI

April 28, 2024 – Washington Co., WI – Gordon Edward Kraemer, 91, of Richfield WI, passed away peacefully on the morning of April 20, 2024, after a brief hospital stay.


Gordon was born November 27, 1932, to Edward and Leona (nee Kasten) on the family homestead in Richfield, the last member of the family to be born on the kitchen table. The third of three siblings, Gordon grew up on the family farm, walking to Rockfield’s one-room schoolhouse before later attending and graduating from West Bend High School.


After graduation, Gordon farmed alongside his parents on the family farm before being drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War in 1953. Because he was a farm boy who knew how to operate heavy equipment, he was stationed in Germany where he spent his time repairing roads as well as part of the motor pool that chauffeured higher-ranking military personnel.


After he was discharged from the Army in 1955, Gordon returned to the family farm. He bought a milk hauling route and hauled milk in cans from area dairy farms to Gehl’s Dairy in Germantown. On New Year’s Eve 1965 at the Artistic Roller Rink in West Bend, he met Karen Peil whom he would later marry. He bought a herd of milking cows in 1967 shortly before their wedding (he hung his wedding ring on a nail in the front of the barn during milking between the service and the reception for safekeeping).


Together Gordon and Karen ran their 40 cow dairy farm. They welcomed their only child, Michelle, in 1968 and the three of them farmed together. Gordon was proud of his farm, especially his John Deere tractors, which he took meticulous care of. He was also proud of his military service and country. In 1984, when he built his Harvestore silo, he saw to it that it featured the iconic American flag which overlooked his family’s barn and still does to this day.


After many years of hard work and sacrifice the cows were sold in 2001 and Gordon and Karen entered retirement, while still raising a few steers and cropping the land. They enjoyed some traveling including trips to California to see his sister, Canada and to the UP to revisit the site of their honeymoon.


In 2011 his grandson took over the family farm and began milking cows again. Gordon was happy to help drive tractor/combine and “take a ride around the section” to see what he and the other neighborhood farmers were doing. As his health began to decline he still made it a habit to come down to the farm every day. His doctors encouraged him to do some walking which he did by shuffling up and down the freestall barn with his walker, taking a break to sit amongst the cows and take in a nice breeze.


He was preceded in death by his parents Edward and Leona, a sister and brother-in-law Ruthe and Harold Schwamb, and a brother-in-law Raymond Hron.


Surviving Gordon is his hardworking and faithful wife of 56 years, Karen, of Richfield, his daughter Michelle (Robert) Jones of Cedarburg, his two grandsons Charlie (Kristin) Jones of Richfield and Andy (fiance Stephanie Martin) Jones of Cedarburg, and his sister Gladys Hron of West Bend.


The family worked together to honor Gordon’s wish of staying at home as long as possible. His loving wife Karen provided 24-hour care, his daughter Michelle did the shopping and other tasks while son in law Bob took him to medical appointments. His youngest grandson Andy, a carpenter by trade, fixed the house up to make it as safe and accessible as possible, while his fiancé Stephanie used her experience as an EMT to guide the family through some difficult medical situations.  His oldest grandson Charlie tended to him throughout his final days while his wife Kristin was back home on the farm allowing him extra time to be with his grandfather.


Owing to his German heritage he never really gave a direct compliment, but you could tell by a wry smile when he was happy or proud. We hope you are up in heaven looking down on your family and farm with that same wry smile on your face.


VISITATION: Gordon’s family will greet friends at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 2881 Division Road, in Jackson on Sunday, May 5, 2024, from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.


SERVICE: A service will be held at 3:30 p.m. for Gordon at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Sunday.


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