July 6: Marcia Frances Trouland Cramer (1996)

The Old Testament Book of Exodus tells the story of the struggling Israelites who had no food as they were wandering in the desert after leaving Egypt. Then God sent manna from heaven to sustain them. And so it was in 1996 with Epiphany, a struggling downtown parish striving to live out its gospel mandate to welcome the stranger and feed the poor, in a building with a leaking roof. Then came news from the Riggs Bank Trust Department that the church was the recipient of Marcia Cramer’s entire estate, valued at close to a half million dollars. Within a year, Epiphany had a new slate roof. At the time of her death, Mrs. Cramer was an unknown person to the parish, although there is evidence she may have had connections much earlier.

A native Washingtonian, Marcia Cramer was born in 1898. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church when she was 20 years old. She had a 43-year career as a fiscal auditor with the General Accounting Office, retiring in 1962. When Marcia Cramer died in 1996 at age 98, she was twice widowed, and was without descendants and had no immediate family. In addition to her estate, Epiphany was the recipient of her personal papers. There were detailed notes on a variety of subjects. Among these personal effects were handwritten prayers (see accompanying photo) that identify her as a person of faith and might help explain why she would be interested in leaving her estate to a church.

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