Frances Sherman Kramer, 91, a prominent member of Philadelphia's Jewish society known for her charitable projects and expertise in fashion, died Saturday, Dec. 17, in an assisted-living facility in Tampa, Fla.
Born in West Philadelphia, Mrs. Kramer grew up on Spruce Street and graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1937. She didn't go to college, but studied fashion privately.
Mrs. Kramer married Robert I. Kramer in 1939. The two had met in a restaurant.
"He saw her across the room because she was so gorgeous," said the couple's daughter, Wendy Grant. "He went over and introduced himself."
The Kramers were very active in charity work, especially with the Allied Jewish Appeal and Fight for Sight, a fund-raiser for Wills Eye Hospital.
They were a popular and sought-after couple in the region's Jewish community. They lived in Wynnefield, Center City, Penn Valley, and Bala Cynwyd, but were members of the Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill, where she held fashion shows, Grant said.
Mrs. Kramer had an extraordinary knowledge of contemporary fashion, her daughter said. From 1950 to 1985, she organized and acted as commentator for hundreds of fashion shows to benefit charities in Philadelphia.
One of her creations was the widely imitated retrospective of women's clothing styles called "Cavalcade of Fashion."
Her knowledge, style, and good looks landed her a role as fashion coordinator for The Mike Douglas Show during the time the broadcast originated from Philadelphia.
After her husband died in 1987, she took over his business, Chatham Acres Nursing Home in Chatham, Chester County, and operated the extended-stay nursing-care facility until she retired to Florida at 85.
"She would joke that she was older than most of the residents," said her son, David.
In addition to her son and daughter, Mrs. Kramer is survived by four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Donations in her name may be made to the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute, c/o Holly Lisle, Development Director, 4001 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, Fla. 33613. Checks may be made out to the USF Foundation Inc.