Fashion Department Mourns Loss of Beloved Professor

Senior Professional Lecturer of Fashion, Richard Kramer, passed away in his sleep the night of Feb. 27, 2019. He was in his early 70’s.

Faculty of the Marist fashion department became concerned when he did not show up for his classes on Thursday, Feb. 28, and gave no notice for his absence. Kramer had no family in the area and was unmarried with no kids, according to Radley Cramer, the director of the Marist fashion program. Cramer was a close friend and colleague of Kramer for more than a decade. The fashion director had a contact that was able to check on Kramer, and reported back on his passing.

The professor’s teaching career at Marist spanned nearly 20 years and was described by Cramer as “a longstanding pillar of the fashion program.”

Richard Kramer (left) and Radley Cramer (right) at a photoshoot for the Fashion Look book

Richard Kramer (left) and Radley Cramer (right) at a photoshoot for the Fashion Look book

Kramer came to Marist when the fashion program was small and was looking to develop. He was influential in setting the tone of the program, Cramer said. He was eager to take on projects and spearhead initiatives that would eventually make Marist fashion a leading program. Kramer reportedly helped find the Silver Needle Fashion Show, Marist fashion’s biggest event of the year.

According to Cramer, the professor was “larger than life.” He entered the theatre world and began performing when he was just seven years old. He gained experience early in his career when he became the personal assistant and dresser to ZaSu Pitts, a silent film star. In that position Kramer had the opportunity to travel around the country with Pitts, an experience which would eventually inspire his lively teaching style.

“As a specialist in costume history, Richard represented the classic ‘sage on the stage’ -- presenting engaging, sometimes very entertaining theatrical descriptions of historic periods and how fashion reflected the spirit of the times,” Cramer said. “He brought the history of costume to life. He was an expert, with precise presentation and master of his teaching. He added a lot of emotion, which the faculty admired.”

Kramer retired in 2017, however he still continued to teach two courses: History of Costume and History of Modern Fashion. Both these classes are noted for attracting students of various majors, reaching far beyond just the fashion department. Cramer will be taking over the professor’s classes for the remainder of the semester.

The professor will be greatly missed by faculty and students, beyond just the fashion program.

As Cramer said, “Somewhere Richard is rehearsing a new play, planning a show or telling a great story.”


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