A father‘s influence: The legacy of Pete Kramer

As Eddie Kramer prepares to step into his new role as board chair for Tidewater Jewish Foundation, his thoughts naturally turn to the impact his father, Herbert L. “Pete” Kramer, had on his life. For Eddie, Father’s Day is not just a time for celebration but also a moment for reflection on the values and lessons imparted by his father, who was known for his dedication to the principles of tikkun olam (repairing the world).

Pete Kramer was a quiet, yet influential man who believed that true legacy was not measured in financial wealth but in the values and actions one instilled in their children. “My father left a legacy of compassion and community service,” Eddie says. 

As the youngest of three brothers, Eddie vividly remembers his father’s unwavering commitment to helping others and standing up for justice.  “He realized how to do all these things in the background,” Eddie says. “He never put himself out in front of it.” 

Pete was involved in community service and social justice initiatives. Known for his generosity, he was often the first to contribute to local causes and help students with the cost of education. His involvement in the civil rights movement, including marching with local black clergy members down Granby Street in Norfolk, exemplified his belief in standing up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. “He took a lot of heat for his stance, but he always stood his ground,” Eddie says with pride.

Eddie recounts how his father’s actions during challenging times, like speaking out against school closures in the 1950s due to integration, left a lasting impression on him and his brothers. His father’s lessons on community service extended to their high school years, where Eddie and his brothers participated in community programs. “Dad always believed that his sons were his legacy, and it was our responsibility to contribute, at a higher level.” 

Eddie also credits his father for his business acumen and strategic thinking. After a successful career in law, Pete transitioned to property management and development, where he taught his sons valuable lessons about hard work and innovation. “Dad was always a thinker and a doer. He inspired us to be proactive and to seek opportunities to make a difference.” 

As Eddie prepares to lead TJF, he says he envisions a future where TJF continues to support the community by securing assets that will ensure the sustainability of the Jewish community, culture, and traditions.

Eddie’s involvement with TJF and other organizations is about honoring his father’s legacy and creating a lasting impact for future generations. He speaks passionately about engaging the community and encouraging participation in philanthropic efforts. “It doesn’t matter how much you give, but that you join the party,” he emphasizes, highlighting the power of community involvement.

Reflecting on the future, Eddie emphasizes the importance of building a foundation for the next generation. “Our parents did so much to get us here. They equipped us to continue their work. It’s now our responsibility to ensure that legacy endures.”