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LIFE STORY AND SERVICE DETAILS FOR:Elmer I. Gramley, age 71, a life-long resident of Kaneville, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, November 26, 2017. He was born May 18, 1946 in Aurora to proud parents, Ben and Frances (Flanders) Gramley. Elmer began his life on the family farm and attended local schools. His work ethic was formed early and well, partly because his father passed away when he was ten years old and as a result, no job was ever too small or menial to be done the right way. He graduated from Kaneland High School with the class of 1964 and was a proud FFA member, honoring his roots as well as his future. Elmer also made a name for himself as a trumpet player in the high school band. Following graduation, Elmer attended Iowa State University where he studied in Agricultural Science. Elmer returned to, not only his hometown, but to the home he grew up in, and the one he would eventually live in the rest of his life. He brought all of his newly found education with him and, alongside his older brother Leon, began tilling the land and tending to the livestock on the family farm in 1971. Elmer also loved to drive his beloved Peterbilt semi, hauling livestock to, and from, many parts of the country. The miles piled up but they never wore Elmer down because coming home made all the difference. Their partnership lasted almost 40 years until Leonâ€™s passing in 2011. He finally set down his tools and walked away from his fields shortly thereafter, retiring later the following year.
A mutual friend set him up on a blind date with Jan Demitriu in 1979. They shared their first of many cups of coffee at Colonial, a restaurant in DeKalb. It took two years to share a “kitchen sink” though not of the famous variety offered at Colonial. They were married on July 25, 1981 in Justice, IL. They began their new life together back in the home of his birth and welcomed home a daughter, Sara, who had the “gall” to be born during harvest time. Her only saving grace was that it rained on that particular day so that Elmer could leave the fields to witness the birth of his only daughter.
Elmer was a member of the Kane County Farm Bureau and the National Corn Growers Association in addition to the National Soybean Association. Outside of farming associations, Elmerâ€™s heart beat for his community. He served for many years on the Kaneland School Board and was a volunteer fireman, answering the call of the siren for over thirty years, 10 of them as chief. Countless hours were given to his beloved home town and his touch could be seen and felt in every corner of the community. Elmer sometimes had a gruff exterior and opinions that were unapologetic. You always knew where you stood with Elmer because he was never shy to tell you, but all of that belied a heart of gold that lived to serve his community and anyone in need. Elmer was a man of singular taste and was always in his element with a cold beer in hand, overlooking a pig roast of the highest caliber. Never one to back down from a challenge, Elmer finished the Chicago Marathon in 2002. Crossing the finish line was never in doubt because, in spite of his trainers claim if you could run 18 miles, you could run 26, Elmer ran a full 26 mile personal marathon just to be sure. Once retired, traveling became his main vocation. In recent years, Elmer and Jan have traveled the globe, taking pictures in front of many of the wonders of the world. Their cruise through the Panama Canal was a personal favorite of Elmerâ€™s, but not just for the locale. Elmer marveled at the use of the incredible machinery that helped convey the ship through the pass. The community became poorer in his passing, but the richness of his legacy will help to balm the pain of his loss. He is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Jan Gramley; one daughter Sara Gramley; nephews, nieces, cousins and a countryside of friends. He is preceded by his parents, Ben and Frances Gramley and one brother Leon Gramley. A celebration of Elmer’s life will be held Saturday, December 2, 2017 at the Kaneville United Methodist Church in Kaneville, IL. Visitation with his family will be held from 3-6 p.m., immediately followed by a memorial service at 6 p.m. Private family interment will occur at a later date.MEMORIAL In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Elmerâ€™s name to benefit his favorite charities, including Kaneville United Methodist Church and the Future Farmers of America. Checks may be made to the “Elmer Gramley Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.
A celebration of Elmer's life will be held Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 6:00pm at the Kaneville United Methodist Church in Kaneville, IL
Visitation with his family will be held from 3-6 p.m. December 2, 2017 at the Kaneville United Methodist Church in Kaneville, IL
Private family interment will occur at a later date.