This story was updated at 7:40 a.m. May 18 to add a statement from County Council President Gabe Albornoz.
Former Montgomery County Executive Sidney Kramer, who served in the position from 1986 to 1990, has died. He was 96.
Kramer died on Monday, a family friend told Maryland Matters.
Kramer spent a lengthy career in public service at both the county and state level. He served on the County Council from 1970 to 1974. In 1978 he was elected to the Maryland State Senate, and served there for eight years until becoming county executive for one term, according to his biography on the county’s website.
Marc Elrich, the current county executive, said in a statement Tuesday that Montgomery County has “lost an important and historical figure.”
“Kramer’s energy, passion, and willingness to speak his truth on issues ranging from education, business policy, mental health and advocacy for the aging community impacted many lives,” Elrich said.
County Council President Gabe Albornoz said in a statement that the council was “devastated by the loss of the incomparable Sid Kramer.”
“Montgomery County has lost a giant. He gave all he had to make Montgomery County great,” Albornoz said.
He noted that during Kramer’s tenure in the General Assembly, “he effectively led the Montgomery County Senate delegation and secured legislative victories, including legislation to curb smoking in public spaces and creating tax credits for state retirees. After leaving office, he remained politically active and served as a mentor to local elected officials, notably former County Executives Douglas Duncan and Isiah “Ike” Leggett.”
“Always civically-engaged, Kramer was a former president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, president of the Rotary Club of Silver Spring, vice chairman of the Executive Committee of the Montgomery United Way, director of the ARC of Maryland, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Holy Cross Hospital,” he said.
Kramer grew up in Washington, D.C., attending The George Washington University. He initially pursued a business career in Montgomery County and built a chain of successful car washes in suburban Maryland prior to his entry into politics, according to his biography.
In his bid for re-election to be county executive in 1990, Kramer was upset in the Democratic primary by then-County Council Member Neal Potter, who had served five terms. Kramer initially said he would support Potter in the general election that year, but later decided to run as a write-in candidate, according to Maryland Matters. The write-in campaign did not succeed.
In 2013, the Upcounty Regional Services Center in Germantown was renamed the Sidney Kramer Upcounty Regional Services Center in Kramer’s honor, Elrich noted.
Kramer is survived by his children Miriam, Rona and Ben. Rona Kramer is currently Maryland’s secretary of aging, and Ben Kramer is a Democratic state senator who represents District 19, which covers Silver Spring, Wheaton and Derwood.
Funeral arrangements for Kramer had not been announced as of Tuesday afternoon.
Dan Schere can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org