Claire Z. Cramer

Portland, ME – Claire Z. Cramer, a born writer who channeled her passion for sailing and food into a vibrant career in journalism, died unexpectedly on July 6, 2018 in Portland, ME. She was 64 years old. The middle child of the late Effie and James Zisson, Claire made her home in the Northeast, where she wrote and edited for a variety of nautical publishers, newspapers and magazines, from Newport, RI, to northern Maine. Settling in Portland in 2000, she copy edited “Portland Undercover,” a hip guide to the city, and in the process explored most every neighborhood and street in her new home town. She then went on to write the influential “Taste and Tell” column for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram newspapers from 2001 – 2004, recognizing early on the burgeoning local food scene. Most recently, Claire served at Portland Monthly magazine, where she was assistant editor and publisher, writing her popular “Hungry Eye” department, as well as significant stories and interviews with cultural figures in the area. Her final column will appear in the September 2018 issue. 


Curious, smart, enthusiastic and always respectful of her subjects, Claire wrote in depth about the farmers, fishermen, merchants, artists and ideas that comprise the heart of the city she grew to love. The day she died, Claire left her home with every intention of returning: windows flung wide to the stiff breeze off the water and the sound of the wheeling gulls; wine chilling and wonderful things in the fridge for dinner. 

Claire Cramer is deeply mourned by her sister and brother-in-law, Jami and Paul Giovanopoulos, and their children: her niece and godchild, Luca Giovanopoulos and her nephew Theo Giovanopoulos. She is also survived by her brother, Peter Zisson, and his family. Claire will be missed by her cousins and extended family, as well as a wide circle of dear friends and colleagues who remember her loyal heart and wry wit, and will always prize her marvelous eye-roll on those few occasions when words failed her.  

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