Famed Writer and Local Resident Richard Ben Cramer Dies at 62


Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 10.36.44 PMAward-winning author and Chestertown resident Richard Ben Cramer lost his battle against lung cancer on January 7. Cramer, best known for his international reporting and political coverage of the 1988 presidential election, also wrote  for several well-known publications, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, Esquire Magazine, and Rolling Stone.

At the time of Mr. Cramer’s  death, He was working on a new biography about baseball star Alex Rodriguez.

Mr. Cramer lived in Chestertown, Md., with his wife, Joan, who survives him.

News links


Daily Beast


Letters to Editor

  1. john lang says:

    The bells toll for us. The loss of Richard’s light and laughter makes Chestertown, despite the sunny day, a dimmer place.

    The Web is filled with appreciations of him — the political observer, the foreign correspondent, the baseball writer without peer. He deserves that.

    What the tributes miss, however, is how he was here in his adopted hometown.

    A really good guy, a seriously funny guy.

    For someone who achieved iconic status to other journalists and political junkies of every sort, he was, as well, a private man. The anti-celebrity celebrity. Aside from moderating the occasional panel and mentoring Washington College students now and then, if you wanted to see Richard you had to be looking. His idea of dining out was a table for two in the back room at Proc’s. His most usual appearances in town were walking his dog Alex in the evening quiet through Wilmer Park and up High Street along largely empty sidewalks. His notion of fun included single-barrel bourbon, stinky cigars and cracking up friends and himself with droll observations that always came from a beaming face as he appreciated the thought before he could utter it.

    Here’s one, pronounced of a chronically misbehaving dog: “Ah, a Substandard Poodle.”

    With tears in your eyes he makes you smile. We’ll miss it.

  2. fletcher hall says:

    A real loss and at too early an age.


    Fletcher R. Hall

  3. I met him while on duty as an election judge. I told him I enjoyed his Joe DiMaggio book. He was grateful, and mentioned the Arod project, but noted that I would like his Ted Williams book even more. I thought about picking it up and seeing if he could sign it for a friend who is a Red Sox fan. I meant to try to do it this past holiday season, but figured I would wait until the next time we had made plans. And maybe that’s another downside to the Kent County two degrees of separation. Some things can’t “just get done tomorrow.”

  4. Carol Schroeder says:

    I saw Richard Ben Cramer for the first and only time when he and Adam Goodheart had a wonderful conversation as the “kick off” event for the Chestertown Book Festival in November 2012. I am so grateful that he made the effort for this event and even more thankful that I was there. The conversation was full of memories and humor and Cramer seemed to enjoy it very much. May he rest in peace.

  5. Liz Clark says:

    The Newshour did a nice piece on Mr. Cramer. Catch it again tonight (Tuesday) at 10 on MPT2

  6. I remember the first time Richard Ben Cramer came to the farm. I couldn’t believe this award winning reporter, famous author and someone I had heard at the National Press Club 20 years earlier was in my barn and was so nice!! Richard was so not famous. He and his wife, Joan, and their wonder dog Alex, were regular beef customers and we always enjoyed visiting with them when they stopped by to get their order. Rest in Peace, Richard, we will miss you.

  7. shawn ferguesson says:

    I couldn’t agree more with all of the good things written about Richard Ben Cramer. My deepest sympathy to his wife Joan and family. The only thing I feel compelled to add, is that about all else, Richard was a really nice guy. He will sincerely be missed by those of us he graced with his presence and conversation. Rest in Peace.

  8. Nancy Robson says:

    Richard, who for years did a writing seminar at Gunston Day School’s ‘In Celebration of Books’ (refusing the honorarium each time), was the big shiny flag I waved in front of other nationally-known writers when persuading them to come too. Most either knew him or wanted to know him. So they came. By the dozens. And loved their time with him, as did the students. Richard always gave a totally outrageous and fabulously educational writing seminar to students who may only now be realizing how lucky they were. He was a rock star with a generous heart — rare.


  1. […] battle with lung cancer. He was 62. Cramer, who'd been living on Maryland's Eastern …Famed Writer and Local Resident Richard Ben Cramer Dies at 62The Chestertown Spyall 3 news […]

  2. […] 62, acclaimed journalist and authorPhiladelphia InquirerRichard Ben Cramer dies at 62PoliticoThe Chestertown Spyall 6 news […]

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.