Those of you who know the Kraemer family might be aware that Dan Kraemer, the co-founder of Kraemer Farms’ wine grape program, passed away a year ago today. Dan was a beloved figure in our family, on our farm, in our community and in the wider wine industry. Much has been said about Dan in the days and months since his passing—the sheer number of lives he touched, the warmth of his personality, the extend of his brilliance and scope of his ambition always made him stand out. The vineyards discussed in this blog and elsewhere on this website were one of his life’s many works, and so it is absolutely vital to take a moment to recognize the one-year anniversary of his sudden and tragic passing. Below are the words of Dan’s middle son, Alex, which he wrote on the first anniversary of his death.
“A year ago today we lost my father, Dan Kraemer. This last year has been among the most difficult and challenging of my life, but I know Dad wouldn’t want me, or any of us mourning his passing, to wallow in rage or bitterness or unbridled sadness. Dad would want us to carry on, to continue to believe in goodness and fairness, and if we found either in short-supply to find it in ourselves and to share with our loved ones. Dad didn’t believe in giving up, on one’s own self, on your dreams, or on others.
He was always a source of succor and support, he always looked to help and to guide, and he never held a grudge. He loved and he forgave. He expected everyone to live up to their potential, for Dad could always see the great potential in most all of us, and he know how to bring it out.
Dad was a truly amazing man, and losing him has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure—a sentiment which I know goes for others as well. We’ve all had to deal with his absence, and while he’ll never be replaced, Dad was kind and giving to the point that he gave parts of himself to all of us. This means that we have only to look to one another to find Dad. He built a family that extended well-past his own blood, a network of people bearing the mark of his kindness and generosity, and people who benefited from his guidance and love. We’re all inheritors of Dad’s legacy, and so we must simply look to one another for the support and love he otherwise would have provided.
Dad isn’t gone—his spirit resides in all of us who knew and loved him. I’ll never stop missing him, and I’ll always feel aggrieved at his loss. But I know that if I wake up every day with the intent to embody the values he taught to me, and seek to pass those values onto others in his stead, then I’ll ensure that the spirit of Daniel Anthony Kraemer shall never pass from this Earth. I can think of no better way to honor him and his legacy.”