You never forget people like Peter Kramer. Always friendly and helpful, he greeted everyone with a warm smile and hearty handshake.
Thank you to Brian Eaton for his letter and information on Peter’s life. We have to remember people like Peter Kramer; it’s important.
His letter follows:
Peter Kremar (Kramer), who passed away on January 29, was truly one of the Colorful Five Per Cent.
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, midway through the Second World War,
he was the eldest of three sons. A free spirit during the years of Soviet domination of Czechoslovakia, he perfected, during his high school years, a personal variation of speed-reading, which he called speed-talking, the better to slip in his own little digs about Soviet political orthodoxy over the heads of his teachers.
After high school, he put his creativity to use when he was selected to study at film school. During his years of compulsory service in the Czech army, he trained as a cook and baker. The brief flowering of Czech liberalization during the Prague Spring, and the subsequent Soviet invasion in August 1968, gave him the opportunity and motivation to leave his homeland, never to return.
First settling in Paris, France, he was eventually able to emigrate to Canada, arriving in Montreal in April of 1969.
He ended up in Whitehorse in the early ‘70s working as a camp cook for various diamond drilling operations. At his memorial service, a longtime Whitehorse resident recalled moving here from BC in the early ‘70s. He and his friends were stuck for a place to stay until they found work. Peter took it upon himself to invite them all to camp out with him in the old United Church basement, over the protests of at least one church board member. The Reverend Don Lewis refused to evict them all, and they stayed for a month until they found housing and jobs.
Peter was a resident of the Shipyards through to the mid ‘90s, when the city of Whitehorse bulldozed this close-knit community to make way for what is now Shipyards Park. Former Shipyards residents have fond memories of the huge pots of Hungarian goulash Peter would make and serve to them all, and the way his speech itself would become a veritable goulash of English and Czech all mixed together when he became excited.
Peter could be seen frequently around town, greeting friends in his rapid-fire delivery, heavy Czech accent, and he always had a smile for everyone. Many will remember his exuberant greetings and the way that he made friends with everyone that he met.
Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook—Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon,
Y1A 2E4, or e-mail through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.