W. Richard Cramer ’53 P’75 P’88 GP’04 dies at 86

William Richard Cramer ’53 P’75 P’88 GP’04, a leader in the agricultural feed industry, longtime Claremont McKenna College trustee, and donor to the College, passed away peacefully on June 20, surrounded by his family. He was 86.

Cramer served on the CMC Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2006 and also sat on the Board of Governors of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. The Cramer Walkway was named for his generous donations to the college. His son, Bill ’75, daughter Carolyn ’88, and granddaughter Cheryl ’04, all attended CMC.

“It was a special bond between us,” said his son Bill, adding that the CMC education was so valuable to him and his father because, “it’s where you learn how to learn.”

Cramer grew up on a chicken farm in Anaheim, and, after building a career in the egg and chicken feed business, bought the commercial mill Star Milling Company in Perris, Calif., in 1970. The mill, which is still owned and operated by the Cramer family, today manufactures feed for 2.5 million chickens, as well as feed for fish, domestic pets, and livestock. In 1959 Cramer was named “Farmer of the Year – Poultry” by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and in 2014, Star Milling was named California Small Business of the Year by State Assembly member Jose Medina.

An avid hunter, conservationist, and sportsman, Cramer, along with late CMC trustee Howard Marguleas P’87, developed Goose Creek Golf Club in Jurupa Valley, which has hosted multiple PGA and USGA qualifying tournaments and is home to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s golf team.

In addition to having served as chairman of the California Egg Commission, Cramer was on the Board of Governors of the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, was a founding donor to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, and was a member of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, the Valley Group in Riverside County, the Peralta Hills Water Board, the Shikar Safari Club, Safari Club International, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Orange County.

Cramer is survived by his wife Mary, his children Bill and Christina, his grandchildren Paul, Cheryl, Rode, Percy, Louise, and Cian, and his great grandchildren Miriam and Juliette. He is predeceased by his brother Vern, his wife Carole, and his children David, John, and Carolyn. 

A celebration of Richard Cramer’s life will be held at Goose Creek Golf Club on July 29 at 5 p.m. All who knew him are welcome. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation.

–Jessica Langlois