Adios a Larry Gram

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Escrito por ZihuaRob desde ( el día sŠbado, 13 de octubre, 2007 a las 22:16:56 horas :

Lupita and I just received a sad notice from one of our favorite regular visitors, Mary Gram, that her husband Larry passed away on August 29. Perhaps some of you regular visitors met him while you were here during the past decade or so. Larry and Mary were easy to meet and managed to get around a good deal and make friends during their stays here each year.

We met Larry and Mary Gram during I believe their first vacation here just before he retired in 1999. They always made such a beautiful couple together: Mary with her warm and cheerful spirit and Larry with his great gusto for life. Both very much in love and happy together. They spent succeeding years after Larry's retirement spending more time here learning more and more about local and Mexican culture as well as studying the language, always eager to be respectful and neighborly, meeting more people and experiencing local life in all its flavors and colors. It seems we spent hours over the years discussing all kinds of subjects, and I always looked up to Larry as an exemplary person, not just an exemplary law professional.

Last year Larry spent several months here including about a month or so before Mary came down and joined him, and he blended in so well with his guayabera and not-too-dark but healthy tan and his white hair that gave him such a distinguished if not judicial look, looking much like he had been here for years, waving and greeting folks he knew as he went down the street on his daily routine, often stopping by to practice his Spanish with Lupita (or was she practicing her English?). He seemed the most relaxed and contented since Lupita and I had met him. And when Mary arrived he sprang even more to life, rejuvenated by their love and togetherness.

Our hearts break for Mary and their family who were so fortunate to have Larry in their lives.

Here is an article we received from Mary that was posted in the Milwaukee Journal:

More than the Dahmer judge

Gram spent 25 years in Circuit Court

mjones @

Posted: Aug. 30, 2007

On the eve of the most famous homicide trial in Milwaukee County history, Laurence Gram was asked if he wanted to be known as the Jeffrey Dahmer judge.

The unflappable Gram replied that he wanted to be remembered as fair and hard-working. Which is how he is remembered.

Gram, 75, retired in 1999 after 25 years as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge but worked as a reserve judge and was presiding over cases in Waukesha County last week. He died of a massive stroke Wednesday at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

"Larry Gram was right up there with the best. He was a great guy," said Jerry Boyle, Dahmer's defense attorney.

Boyle, who argued numerous cases in Gram's courtroom, kidded Gram by calling him Judge Ito "because he got more face time than Lance Ito," the judge who presided over O.J. Simpson's criminal trial a few years after Gram sentenced Dahmer to 15 life terms in 1992. The serial killer was murdered in prison two years later.

Gram's daughter, Nancy Roberts, recalls a February birthday party held during the trial for her father, her husband, son and nephew, who all celebrated birthdays that month.

"He got the verdict in while we were having the party and the birthday cake. He said, 'Feed the jury well and I'll be down as soon as I can.' He made sure he took care of his family," said Roberts. "If your job in life is to leave the world a better place, he did his job."

Though the Dahmer case was the highest-profile trial in his career, Gram was also known for wearing lederhosen and a Tyrolean hat; cooking ethnic dishes such as spaetzle; presiding as president of a Bavarian dance club; singing in Milwaukee Liedertafel, a men's choral group; and volunteering his time to numerous professional and civic organizations. He took a break during the three-week insanity trial of Dahmer to cook a German meal for a group of disabled friends, an event Gram had sponsored for years.

Born in Milwaukee, Gram attended West Allis public schools, graduated from Northwestern Military and Naval Academy and earned degrees in economics and law from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He went into private practice with his father and in 1968 became chairman of the Democratic Party in Milwaukee County.

Gov. Pat Lucey appointed him to a vacant county court bench in 1974. He spent many years in civil court and switched to felony court in 1989. A few months before Dahmer went to trial, Gram became one of two judges assigned to handle only homicide cases.

"He handled that thing with magnificence, from top to bottom," Boyle said of Gram's handling of the serial killer's trial. "As difficult a case as that was, he made it very easy for both (District Attorney) Mike McCann and I. He had a great sense of humor. He was really a nice, nice man."

He was preceded in death by his first wife of 44 years, Elizabeth. He later remarried. Survivors include his wife of 11 years, Mary; children Mary Gram, Barb Hannes, Larry Gram and Nancy Roberts; and four stepchildren, Marcy ÷Warkaske, Karen ÷Outzen, Michael Riley and Patricia Lonzo.

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