Douglas C. Kramlich, 83, stalwart supporter of supermarkets and food enterprises, passed away January 30, 2021 in San Francisco. Born into a food chain family in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he started school in Appleton and completed his early education at Milwaukee Country Day School (now University School Milwaukee). In seventh grade he was honored with MCDS’s Motto Award: “Don’t Wait to be a Great Man, Be a Great Boy.” Doug emulated this principle his entire life.
Graduating from Northwestern University in 1959 and Harvard Business School in 1962, Doug began his professional career in the Investment Department at Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. While there he observed that many credit-worthy companies, including food retailers and wholesalers, were not taking advantage of optimal forms of long-term financing.
As he had repeatedly learned at HBS, wisdom can’t be told, but it certainly could be shared! With this inspiration he formed Krambo Corporation in 1966 to deploy financial structures that appealed to both institutional investors and companies. His principal focus was the food industry- especially supermarket chains and wholesale food companies, a family passion – for which he was well known in the United States, the U.K. and Europe.
For over 40 years Krambo’s financing transactions helped fuel the growth and success of both public and private companies. Doug was especially fond of supporting privately held companies that conducted business with high integrity and a long view, such as Meijer of Michigan, and H. E. B. and The McLane Stores, both headquartered in Texas. Fred and Hank Meijer, Charles Butt and Drayton McLane (who commented on his passing, “Doug made business fun”) were friends whom he greatly admired.
Krambo Corporation privately placed financing transactions with over 150 life insurance companies and state pension plans. Doug was proud of the fact that no institutional investor lost even a dollar of principal on any of those financing transactions.
Doug was devoted to his family and loved traveling around the world with them to expand their horizons. On his deathbed he instructed his family, “Charge! Go! Proceed with the Plan!” He is survived by his wife, Raymonde whom he married on St. Patrick’s Day in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City after the Parade, their children Cameron (wife Carrie), Kendra, Christopher, and Kira, his brother, Dick (wife Pam), and many nieces and nephews.
His family held a private Service of Sadness on February 13 in San Francisco. This summer Doug’s remains will be buried in Maine.