Paul R. Kramer

Paul R. Kramer: Texas’ Fifth State Forester (1967 – 1981).

Paul R. Kramer took the TFS reins as the fifth state forester of Texas on September 1, 1967, shortly after Dr. Al Folweiler retired. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1914 and received his BS degree in forestry from Washington State College in Pullman in 1937. His credentials included study at Yale University Graduate School of Forestry and employment with the US Forest Service, Central States Forest Experiment Station, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. TFS first hired Kramer in 1948 as a forest products technologist with the Forest Products Laboratory in Lufkin, where he became department head in 1955. Kramer was promoted to associate director on October 1, 1966 and then director less than a year later. One of his initial decisions as TFS director was to promote Bruce R. Miles, TFS district forester in Linden, to a new position of assistant to the director to handle fiscal and personnel affairs. According to Miles, Kramer stated “I don’t know anything about how our field operation works. But I want you to run the organization while I do all the backslapping in Washington, Austin, and Atlanta (headquarters for USFS, Region 8). That’s what he loved.” Miles was a good remedy for Kramer’s lack of field experience. At a distance, the tall and lanky Miles and the stocky, pipe-smoking Kramer could have been mistaken for “Laurel and Hardy” whenever they stopped by TFS field offices and departments. TFS staff and field personnel welcomed their friendly visits, unlike those of his immediate predecessor, Director Folweiler. Kramer was a member of TFA, several wood products professional groups, and Society of American Foresters (elected Fellow in 1979). The Gulf States Section of SAF named Kramer the Outstanding Forester of Texas (1977) and he had previously received the SAF Distinguished Service to Forestry Award in 1971. He was president of the National Association of State Foresters, which recognized him for “outstanding contributions” in 1979. His leadership of the NASF legislative committee was credited with blocking bureaucratic efforts to transfer the USFS from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Interior, as well as passage of the Forestry Assistance Act of 1978. He was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus at Washington State University in 1980. Kramer enjoyed flying to agency meetings in the TFS-owned twin-engine Aero Commander. This plane, a photo of which decorated his office wall, was sold to Texas A&M University at the end of his tenure as director. Kramer retired on January 31, 1981 and remained in College Station, passing away on September 5, 1997, at the age of eighty-three.