NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — James Lewis Kraker Jr., 93, passed away peacefully on June 11 at Halifax hospital, Daytona Beach, Fla., near his winter home in New Smyrna Beach.
He was born Jan. 22, 1920, in Spring Lake, N.J., the first of two siblings to his mother, Dorothy and father, James Lewis. He moved to Beulah, a small town in Northern Michigan, where he spent his youth on a fruit farm, graduating from Benzie Central High in 1938.
After graduating from Cornell University in 1942 with a degree in agricultural economics, Jim joined the U.S. Navy, trained as a naval aviator and married his college sweetheart, Dorothy Dodds. He flew Navy transports in the Pacific theater during World War II and following the war, he returned to Northern Michigan. There he and his wife, Dorothy developed the Cherry Hut restaurant from a roadside stand founded by his parents.
Jim moved to Gouverneur, N.Y., in 1950, where he took over management of Dodds Motor Corp., a Ford farm implement and auto dealership. Jim served as President of the New York State Automobile Dealers Association and was a Time Magazine Dealer of the Year recipient. He sold the business in 1982, but remained very active with the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC), Cornell University alumni affairs, Potsdam State University, the Rotary Club, Presbyterian Church, SCORE as a counselor, mentoring youth and many other civic organizations. He was active with the Boy Scouts earning the Silver Beaver award, the highest award in Scouting. Jim was also an avid sportsman enjoying golf, tennis, sailing, snow skiing and keeping up with his favorite teams and his children’s active sports schedules.
Jim and Dorothy had three children, Larry, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Sandy (Joline), of Cazenovia, N.Y., and Althea, deceased in 1981; grandsons, Evan, Jacob, Jesse, Jeremy and Matthew; great-grandchildren, Christian, Annaliese and Amelia. Jim is survived by his sister, Althea, of Beulah.
Funeral services will be at 5 p.m. today, June 15, 2013, at Coronado Community United Methodist Church, New Smyrna Beach, Fla. A service will also be held in Gouverneur, N.Y., later in the summer.
Donations in Jim’s memory can be made to the Gouverneur Foundation/Althea Kraker Scholarship, 133 E. Barney St., Gouverneur, NY 13642.
Share a memory with the family at www.BaldwinCremation.com.