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In Memoriam: Harold Cramer, Esq.

  • Harold Cramer, Esq.
    Mr. Cramer served on Jenkins' Board for 45 years.

It is with great sorrow and sadness that I write to the Jenkins' Law Library community with the news of my father's passing on Friday, September 1st.  My Dad was a very impressive person as many of you know from having worked with him and listened to his many stories (sometimes more than once).  For those that may be interested, below is my Dad's biography. 
Kind regards, Patricia G. Cramer, Esquire.

Harold Cramer, a native Philadelphian, passed peacefully on September 1, 2017. His career was distinguished by service to the Philadelphia legal, healthcare, and Jewish communities and his country in wartime.

Harold graduated from Central High School (Class 183), Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review, graduated cum laude and was elected to membership in the Order of Coif.

Upon graduation from law school in 1951, Harold was drafted into the United States Army. He served in Korea as a commissioned officer, attended the Judge Advocate General’s School and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Korean Service Medal with three battle stars, the United Nations Korean Medal, National Defense Medal and twice received the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. He was the chief prosecutor for the 8th Army in Korea.

Following his return from military service, he began his legal career with a clerkship to President Judge O. Lewis of the Court of Common Pleas No. 2, followed by a position as Associate Director of the Institute of Legal Research at Penn Law School. In 1955, he entered private practice, joining the law firm of Shapiro Rosenfeld Stalberg & Cook where he became a partner. In 1967, he joined Mesirov, Gelman, Jaffe & Levin, which eventually became Mesirov, Gelman, Jaffe, Cramer & Jamieson, LLP, where he was managing partner.

In 1989, after having been the voluntary Chairman of the Board of Graduate Hospital for almost two decades, Harold began a new chapter of his career and became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Graduate Health System, Inc. (which grew to include 5 hospitals in Pennsylvania, 2 hospitals in New Jersey and a health maintenance organization) until the disposition of the health system in 1996. In the fall of 1996, he returned to Mesirov as of counsel and in 2000, with the merger of the Mesirov and Schnader firms, he became a counsel and then retired partner at Schnader. He also served as a Judge Pro Tem for the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia and, from 1994 - 2017, was a Director of Penn National Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN).

Over the years Harold held leadership roles in many community organizations, including serving as: a member of the Board of Directors of Philadelphia Health Care Trust; member of the Board of Directors of Pennsylvania Medical Reinsurance Company; a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Chairman of the Board of the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Philadelphia; a member of the Board of Directors of Health Net Northeast Region; a member of the Mayor’s Commission on Health; President of the Legal Division of American Friends of Hebrew University; a Trustee of Keneseth Israel synagogue; a Trustee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; President of the Jewish Publishing Group (Jewish Exponent); a Trustee and the President of the Jewish Publication Society; a Trustee and President of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation; Vice Chancellor, Chancellor, and a member of the Board of Governors; Chairman of the Committee of Censors (predecessor to the statewide Disciplinary Board) and editor of The Shingle (n/k/a The Philadelphia Lawyer) of the Philadelphia Bar Association; a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (including serving on the House of Delegates and Board of Governors (Chairman)); a member of the American Bar Association; a member of the American Law Institute; a member of the Executive Committee of the National Order of the Coif; and, a member of the Board of Directors and President of the Board of the Theodore F. Jenkins Memorial Law Library.

Since his graduation, he remained active with the University of Pennsylvania Law School, including having been a co-founder of its Owen J. Roberts Lecture Series and serving as Chairman of the Board of Managers. He was a course developer and instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy at the University of Colorado, Boulder Campus and the co-author of Problems and Materials on Trial Advocacy (Foundation Press, 1968). In addition, he was a co-founder of Jewish Law Day and served as co-chair of Jewish Law Day in 1985-1986.

Harold was recognized for his work in the community and has received, among other honors, The Philadelphia Bar Medal, which is for extraordinary service to the Philadelphia Bar Association; The Liberty Bowl, which was presented by the Mayor of Philadelphia; the Maimonides Award from the Anti-Defamation League; the Histadrut Award from the National Committee for Labor; the Jewish Humanitarian Award from the American Jewish Congress; and, the Israel Award from the Jewish National Foundation.

He was a devoted husband to his wife, Geraldine (Geri), and father to his daughter, Patricia. His interests included golf, reading and photography.

Contributions may be made to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Jenkins Law Library, or Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia.

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