James A. Kraemer, 90, of Watertown, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on December 7, 2021, at the Watertown Regional Medical Center.
James was born on May 30, 1931 in Watertown, the son of Anton and Emilie (Stangler) Kraemer. He started working the milk route at age 7 in 1938. James married the love of his life Joanne Oestreich on June 11, 1955 and the couple enjoyed 60+ years of marriage before her passing in 2016. For 43 years, James and Joanne owned and operated Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese, remodeling, renewing, and reinventing all along the way. There would be no Kraemer Wisconsin Cheese today without the guidance of James and Joanne. James led a life of legend; and his family is his legacy. He won the World Cheese Championship for a recipe he created for a beer cheese in 2010. James was a member of St. Henry’s Catholic Church, a member of the Watertown Country Club for 41 years, the Elks Lodge, where he was named National Elk of the year, he was also a member of the Watertown Agribusiness, was a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, and a member of the Dodge County Board of Supervisors. He was a hard worker his whole life, working in 10 different decades. He was a very generous, just, and brave man. In his free time he enjoyed coaching youth basketball for a number of years, gardening, golfing, and bowling. Above all he loved spending time with his family and friends, especially his grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by all who were blessed to have known him.
James is survived by his children: Mary (Dan) Christian; Donna (Larry) Smith; Tony (Sue) Kraemer; Richard (Mari) Kraemer; Steve (Cheri) Kraemer; and Mike (Rhonda) Kraemer. He is further survived by grandchildren: Emily (Jakoah Brgoch) Christian; Michael Christian; Elizabeth Christian; Sherry (Rob) Harms; Katie (Chris) Campbell; Tony Kraemer; Megan (Dave) Karl, Ryan Kraemer; Kevin (Linda) Kraemer; Jenny Kraemer; Julia (Luke) Kaster; Jacob Kraemer; Garrett (Kristine) Fischer; Christina (Cody) Roehl; Bradley (Angela Patel) Fischer; Angel Fischer; and Tyler Kraemer, great-grandchildren: Andrew and Madalyn Harms, Avery Roehl, Olivia Kaster; Gunnar Roehl; Nora Campbell; and Mason and Harper Karl. Sister-in-laws Mary Wanke and Rose Haznaw and brother-in-laws Richard (Jodi) Oestreich and James (Judith) Oestreich. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
James is preceded in death by his parents, wife, sister Ethel, brothers-in-laws LaVern Wanke and Don Haznaw.
A Mass of Christian Burial for James will be held at 11:00am on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at St. Henry’s Catholic Church with Fr. Vince Brewer presiding. Visitation will take place at the Schmutzler-Vick Funeral Home on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 from 4:00 – 8:00pm with a rosary service beginning at 7:45pm and also on Wednesday at the church from 10:00am until the time of Mass. Burial will take place at St. Henry’s Catholic Cemetery at a later date. A live stream of the service will be available at www.watertowncatholic.org
Memorials in James honor to St. Henry’s Catholic School or the Make A Wish Foundation of Wisconsin would be appreciated.
The family would especially like to thank James’s good friend and doctor, Terry Turke for the care and compassion over the years.
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