BOISE - Former Green Bay Packer and Idaho dairy farmer Jerry Kramer was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4th.
Kramer farmed in Parma until the late 80's and loves farming and returning to his roots. On January 28th, 2012 he was the keynote speaker at the Idaho Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference in Boise. He recounted his years in football and talked about his relationship with legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
"Excellence is an acquired skill," Kramer told YF& R members at that meeting. "Being farmers each one of you strives for excellence each day, that's what farmers do."
Kramer was born in Montana but lived most of his life in Sandpoint, Parma, and Boise.
After graduating from Sandpoint High in 1954 Kramer accepted a football scholarship at the University of Idaho. Kramer’s size, speed, and athletic ability elevated him to star status for the Vandals. After graduation Kramer played in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game, defeating the defending NFL Champion Detroit Lions. Kramer had his jersey retired by the University of Idaho.
Kramer was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and won the starting right guard position his rookie year. As a Packer, the former Vandal won five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls. Kramer also was the team’s kicker in ’62, 63, and part of 1968.
Kramer was named All-Pro five times and is the only member of the NFL's 50th Anniversary All-Time team who is not a member the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Near the end of his career in 1967, Kramer collaborated with Dick Schapp on his first book, the best-selling Instant Replay, a diary of the season which chronicled the life of an offensive lineman in the NFL.
Kramer and Schaap would write two more books together. Kramer played his last year under new head coach Phil Bengtson in 1968. After that season, which saw the aging Packers fall to a losing record of 6-7-1, Kramer wrote a second book, Farewell to Football. After retiring, Kramer briefly worked as a color commentator on CBS National Football League telecasts.
At his induction speech on Saturday Kramer captivated the audience with his closing remarks.
"After the game is all over and the Stadium lights are out. The parking lot is empty and you are back in the quiet of your room. The championship ring is on the dresser. The only thing left at this time is for you to live a life of quality and excellence. Make this world a better place because you were in it! You can if you will," said Kramer.
The newly minted Hall of Famer walked off the stage to a standing ovation.