Stephen Kramer was born on February 27, 1894, near Stranger Creek about 3 miles east of Tonganoxie, KS. He was born into a family of tenant farmers, an occupation that Stephen continued throughout his life.
Stephen was 23-years-old when he enlisted in the army in May of 1917 as one of Harry Truman’s Buglers. Stephen’s artillery unit saw considerable action in the war. He served in Battery D of the 129th field artillery unit of the 60th Brigade of the 35th Division, and saw action September 25, 1918 in the Meuse Argonne. On October 10, 1918 he was in the battle of Verdun.
According to Stephen’s family, he was gassed during the war and suffered the after effects. After the war he had difficulty breathing and received a pension for the rest of his life.
Stephen returned to his family’s tenant farm after WW1 and continued his dairyman/farmer activities. He also continued his interest in music, and played a saxophone and mandolin in several bands over the years. He was so talented, his family said, that he could play any musical instrument he wanted.
Family members state that Steve continued his association with Harry Truman throughout his life. On several occasions he visited President Truman in Independence, MO, and at least once he visited him in Washington DC.
Steve never married, but he had a close relationship with his family. He is buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery south of Tonganoxie, KS.
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