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It was with great sadness that I learned about the passing of club president Hugh Kramer. It’s hard to find the words to convey what Hugh meant to me over the years – superb friend, mentor, uncle, big brother! Through all my Baja adventures and publications he was quick with a hug, a smile, and an encouraging word.
He invited me to write a “column” for Discover Baja’s newsletter at its inception in 1991. Over the years in a wonderful atmosphere of kindness and support, I wrote scores of articles and stories.
I’ve lost count of the number of lectures I gave at the club. A smiling, ever jolly Hugh introduced me at every one. Hugh and Carol were at my wedding on Mount Tecate in 1995, and laughed and joked with me at the beginning of my 1997-8 Journey With a Baja Burro at the beer garden in Tecate. Several times I’ve met Hugh and his family in Baja and attended club events in San Diego.
Never once was he anything but gracious and a true gentleman. It was a pleasure to be around him and to benefit from his love of Baja.
My thoughts to Carol and his family, especially children Jenny and David, in these difficult times. But I rejoice with them at recollecting a wonderful life well lived, and the knowledge of all the good Hugh left behind. No man is more deserving of heaven. Adios amigo… and thank you for everything. You will never be forgotten.
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Basking in the warmth of a crackling campfire; hugging a 35-ton gray whale; marveling at a shooting star zipping across the inky sky; witnessing the sparkling bioluminescence that surrounded our boat one very special New Year’s Eve night; releasing turtle hatchlings to sea; rescuing a ‘water-skiing” blue-footed booby; snorkeling the craggy shoreline; laughter….so much laughter. Talks of dreams realized and those to come. All of this and more are precious snippets from a beautiful ribbon of memories of my friend and “brother” Hugh Kramer.
Our families were woven into a cherished tapestry of friendship over the past 40 years bonded by our love for Baja and also for each other. Together, we explored Baja’s nooks and crannies and were spellbound by the peninsula’s beauty and the lovely and generous people who lived there. When Hugh and Carol formed the DISCOVER BAJA Travel Club, I was fortunate to be the Club’s newsletter editor for over a decade. During that time, I saw how Hugh enthusiastically embraced and shared Baja with others. Hugh loved his God, his family and friends. He was relentless in helping those in need. Hugh made this world a much better place just by being in it.
Thank you Hugh for being such a wonderful friend through the years. Even though your earthly presence is gone, you will continue to shine bright in my heart and in those who loved you.
Con amor, Vaya con Dios
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It’s difficult to find a favorite memory of my Dad that doesn’t involve Baja. From the time I was a baby—even years before my parents started Discover Baja—family trips were almost always spent exploring the peninsula. We would pile into the VW Westfalia, blast the Kingston Trio, and head south for adventure. Whether we were going down to Bahía de los Ángeles for nights of bonfires and days of beachcombing with good friends, heading to pet the gray whales, driving to the East Cape for the annual Discover Baja fishing tournament, or just going for one of our regular lobster dinners at Puerto Nuevo, a trip to Baja always meant fun and adventure.
For a while when I was young, I chronicled some of those adventures with a semi-regular column for the Discover Baja newsletter called “Jenny’s Jaunts.” It was my first writing gig and I remember spending nights with my Dad as he helped me write and edit my articles. His enthusiasm for Baja was infectious and he shared that with all of the Discover Baja members, and passed it along to me as well. I am forever grateful to my Dad for introducing me to his beloved peninsula.
I think my Dad’s favorite place in the world was relaxing in the hammocks at Rancho Leonero. The beautiful Sea of Cortez view with an afternoon breeze and a beer in hand is pure heaven. I hope you’ve found your eternal hammock, Dad.
I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.
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I met Hugh and Carol back in 1993 when my sister and I bought a vacation home in La Bufadora, and we needed Mexican car insurance. Over the past 25 years we became friends. The first article I ever had published was in the Discover Baja newsletter. I did book signings at the annual Christmas parties. My favorite gig was the cooking lessons I did in around 1999. To make a career out of one’s passion is rare and amazing, but the Kramers did it, and did it successfully!
Hugh’s love of Baja has inspired so many people to travel and live there. DBTC has helped countless people learn to navigate safely and happily below the border. Hugh was a pioneer with a great spirit of adventure. His legacy will live on through Carol, David, Jen, Chris, baby Pen… and all of us who love Baja.
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3 thoughts on “Remembering Hugh”
As a relative newcomer to DBTC I never had the pleasure of meeting Hugh and that is my loss.
But as others have said his work lives on and that gives me hope. Hope to know Hugh better through the DBTC as I begin my own Baja journey of discovery.
My condolences to Hugh’s family and many friends, Terry House
These dear letters all hit home as I was raised on the beaches and in the arroyos of Baja California. Baja still offers one a feeling of what life was like 50 or 100 years ago with it’s proud, stoic and hard-working people found most often in fishing villages and small farming ejidos. The invasion of satellite tv has had an impact on their daily lives as has the infiltration of narco-related culture but we can only pray that by maintaining the strength of their families and the patriarch that the people of Baja California remain strong and stable in their preservation and protection of traditional cultural and social values. I empathize deeply with wife Carol first and then daughter Jen and son David. Hugh was truly one of the finest ambassadors of Baja California and it was he and his persona and his sharing of information that allowed people to confront their pre-conceived fears of ‘bandidos down south’ and to help them find the confidence to lead their own loved ones down the peninsular in search of what has been repeated over and over again in all of our lives and on these web pages…a search for “fun and adventure.” I thank all of you involved in the Discover Baja Travel Club as you are on the forefront of enabling so many to realize their own dreams of finding truly authentic ‘fun and adventure’ in their lives and perhaps nowhere else on earth can one find a place as authentic and adventurous as Baja California. ‘Here here’ to a man with a deep passion and vision to utilize his unique skillset of sharing information as an ambassador to the common man who dreamed of venturing south of the border! And ‘here here’ to this man’s wife and family for supporting the patriarchs vision and passion. Godspeed to the entire Kramer Family and to all of the dedicated staff of the Discover Baja Travel Club.
Hugh Kramer had a heart for the military, active duty soldiers and sailors here in San Diego, especially the Wounded, Ill and Injured (WII). When he discovered 5+ years ago that the WII were not provided a dinner meal while recovering in their Building 26 barracks at the San Diego Naval Medical Center, he took it upon himself to recruit teams of service groups, churches, veterans groups and others to provide a monthly dinner to the WII in the Liberty Center in the Building 26 barracks. His goal was to provide a weekly dinner meal to the WII, every Tuesday and Wednesday. The Marine Parents were already providing a Thursday Dinner to the WII every week and continue to this day to do that.
Hugh recruited his Mission Bay Rotary Club, along with several churches (including Clairemont Emanuel Baptist, Clairemont Christian Fellowship, and Rancho Bernardo Presbyterian) as well as several veterans groups including the Navy Wives at Coronado. Hugh came very close to achieving his goal of providing Tuesday and Wednesday meals for the WII.
In addition to recruiting volunteer groups, Hugh was personally involved in the Liberty Center every Tuesday and Wednesday evening, greeting the WII as they came to enjoy their nightly meal. He also got personally involved with several of the WII through other recreational outreaches.
Hugh will certainly be missed by all those who he touched through his ministry to the WII.
Keep Carol and the rest of the Kramer family in your prayers,
Wayne Sanger (Wounded Warrior Dinner Coordinator, Clairemont Christian Fellowship)