Joseph I. Kramer, the ‘Nation Physician’ of Avenue D, Dies at 96

Nicknames captured his depth and good will. To a fellow physician, he was “the Final Offended Man”; to a longtime affected person, he was “the Guardian Angel of Avenue D”; and to the cartoonist Stan Mack, who depicted Dr. Kramer a number of instances in Actual Life Funnies, his weekly comedian column for The Village Voice, he was “Dr. Quixote.”

Joseph Isaac Kramer was born on Dec. 7, 1924. His dad and mom, Selig and Frieda (Reiner) Kramer, ran Kramer’s Bake Store in Williamsburg. Joe would pitch in as a cashier — resentfully. Despatched out to run the occasional errand, he took breaks to do what he actually needed — play stickball.

He earned a diploma at Boys Excessive College in Brooklyn, graduated with a Bachelor of Science diploma in 1949 from the College of Kentucky, then left for Europe to search out an reasonably priced medical faculty that will settle for Jews. He graduated from the College of Mainz, in Germany, round 1960. In 1963, he married Joan Glassman shortly after they’d been launched by mates.

Dr. Kramer’s Decrease East Facet observe lacked a nurse, leaving him to dedicate hours every day, and each weekend, to filling out types. In a single occasion, he requested $19 from Medicaid after spending 10 hours serving to a suicidal younger affected person and bought solely $11. Frequently enraged by what he noticed because the stinginess and inaccessibility of the American medical system, he developed extreme hypertension.

He give up the observe in 1996, occasioning a remaining wave of consideration from the information media. “It wasn’t the rise of AIDS, the unfold of TB, the resurgence of measles,” The Related Press wrote in explaining his departure. “It wasn’t his 71 years, and it wasn’t the cash. It was the paperwork.”

Along with his daughter, he’s survived by his spouse; a son, Adam; and two grandchildren.

Each August, Dr. Kramer attended a reunion of Decrease East Facet old-timers at East River Park. In a cellphone interview, Tamara Smith, a affected person of his when she was a bit of lady, recalled a whole bunch of individuals swarming round Dr. Kramer as he entered the park for one such gathering — affirmation of his legacy as a “nation physician” who had handled generations of households.

“He couldn’t even get off the ramp to get into the park,” Ms. Smith mentioned. “He was each baby within the ’hood’s physician. I don’t know the way he managed that, however he noticed each one among us.”

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