picture of Rhoda Hamill Cramer

Rhoda Hamill Cramer


A Positive Force

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For the Cramer family, Rhoda was more than a matriarch; she was a steady, positive force—an inspiration that resonated far beyond her family. Patient, supportive, and understanding, Rhoda's influence touched everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.

Rhoda Hamill Cramer graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. Her passion for sewing and cooking blossomed in the nurturing confines of Perpetual Help Hall, where Home Economics lived during that time. Little did she know that the sewing patterns, vibrant recipes, and memories created in that hallowed space would endure a lifetime.

Rhoda minored in Science, Culinary, and Education, and she applied this training to the care and nurturing of her family. Rhoda was dedicated to teaching her children to cook creatively, with cakes, pies, cookies, and soups regularly featured. Holidays in the Cramer household were cherished events, marked by Rhoda's delicious meals, thoughtful decorations, and exquisite hand-sewn outfits. She took her daughters on material shopping trips in preparation for creating beautiful dresses and costumes. Her sewing and culinary prowess wasn't just reserved for family gatherings; it extended to her involvement in church, school, and community events, where she generously shared her time, talent, and treasure to contribute to a better community.

Education held a special place in the hearts of Rhoda and her husband, Olin. Their unwavering belief in the transformative power of learning became a cornerstone of their lives. This commitment culminated in a meaningful contribution to Marywood University following Olin's passing in 2022. Olin, in an act of love, set up a bequest to honor Rhoda's memory after she passed away in 1990.


Son-in-law, Louis Powlette, daughter, Patricia Powlette, and son, Carl Cramer in front of the Nutrition and Dietetics Wing.

In a tribute to Rhoda's educational foundation, which laid the groundwork for her multifaceted talents, their children, Patricia, Carl, and Anne, chose to designate the bequest of $500,000 to name the Nutrition and Dietetics Wing in the Keith J. O'Neill Center for Healthy Families. Beyond being a physical space for Nutrition and Dietetics, it serves as a living memorial to Rhoda—a vivid expression of her enduring passion for cooking, symbolizing the warmth and sustenance found in a home-cooked meal.

According to Rhoda’s children, “Mom was a proud alumna of Marywood, and she transitioned that exceptional educational experience into the fabric of her everyday life.”

Olin and Rhoda’s commitment to education went beyond philanthropy, as evidenced by their support for others seeking an education. The couple played a pivotal role in the educational pursuits of Rosemary Reese, Class of 1965, and Cynthia Marie Hamill, who pursued a doctorate, encouraging and assisting their respective journeys through Marywood.


As a devout Christian, Rhoda instilled in her family the values of faith and community service. Her dedication to teaching, supporting local charities, and applying her considerable cooking and sewing skills for the betterment of others exemplified her generosity. Her legacy, carried forward by her children, is not just a story of love and learning; it's a testament to the enduring impact one individual can have on their family, community, and the institutions they hold dear.

Planned giving is a way to support Marywood for future generations to come. Make a planned gift to the EMPOWER campaign today!