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March 30, 1995|LEONARD REED | Times Staff Writer

In the audience was Pat Lopker, another parent and senior vice president of the Disney Channel. Lopker describes himself as "not someone who typically joins things" but was inspired by Kramer "because he wasn't just talking about our kids, but the importance of this form of education for all of society, for future generations. He wanted to go beyond getting donations of old desktop computers to something where the teachers would write curriculum and the schools would be wired into cable TV, with tremendously fast data transfer technologies.

"He really got through to me, because he saw all the bits and pieces of it, he saw all it could be, and yet he set the sights on this very high while being a realist."

Lopker got to know Kramer at FACET meetings at the Kramer home--when Lopker wasn't away traveling. Against a noisy background from an airport phone in Taipei, Taiwan, Lopker considered Kramer's disappearance.

"Upon hearing of it, my mouth dropped open. I am flabbergasted," he said. "I have to say, this is the last guy to check out. I felt I knew him well enough. I saw a stable, caring, loving family man--and a leader. The only thought I had and have is that some uncontrollable event got in his way."

One of the uncontrollable events in Taylor Kramer's life occurred well before his disappearance, but Jennifer says it affected him deeply: the trauma of TMM's bankruptcy filing and reorganization.

"Within that process, a lot of greed came out, and greed was the most offensive thing to Taylor. It hurt him to the core of his soul," she says. "TMM continues to have problems with infighting. It had gotten to the point where Taylor felt he couldn't trust anybody--not even Greg (Martini)."

On the morning that he disappeared, Kramer had said to Jennifer, as advance notice, "At some point, I'll need an hour alone with Greg," Jennifer recalls. "But I remember telling him, 'Whatever you say to Greg you can say to me.' "

Jennifer also recalls that Kramer, in his sleepless euphoria about the apparent breakthrough stemming from "Ray's Moment," was jumpy about the presence of patent attorneys at TMM's offices; he had, in the week before his disappearance, said, "We've got to be careful."

Martini, who had raised large amounts of cash for TMM before its bankruptcy, was unavailable for comment. Calls to his Cincinnati home went unanswered. Martini also worked for Citibank/New York as vice president for high-yield sales but departed from the company following Kramer's disappearance. Citibank officials declined to comment.

It is clear that Taylor Kramer left TMM in a state of some volatility. It is a company he started with Randy Jackson, brother of singer Michael, envisioning the next wave in computer technologies. In a scant few years TMM morphed with the video compression marketplace itself, hiring for key leadership posts executives from MCI and the military. Only last week, TMM announced a joint consulting agreement with MCI, coming at a time when giants such as Pioneer are launching their own technologies to compete with video compression.

If the place for a visionary such as Taylor Kramer, with his professor father in tow, in a small cutting-edge firm was becoming burdensome, he generally had hidden it well. But Kathy Kramer-Peterssen believes he was starting to feel the weight--not just from TMM, but from the enormity of "Ray's Moment" and what to do with it.

Readings on Spirituality

Taylor Kramer was deeply struck by two books over the last year and talked about them to Jennifer and Kathy more than once.

"The Celestine Prophecy," by James Redfield, hit home in a big way. The book is an adventure story about searching for an ancient Peruvian manuscript that foretells a major transformation in humankind at the end of the second millennium. The manuscript comprises nine "insights," each of which builds upon the premise that human consciousness is merely one form of energy that flows into confluence with energy fields in the physical and spiritual worlds. Indeed, people in the final chapter find ways to vibrate at energy levels high enough to become invisible.

The best-selling book is to be followed by yet another, now in the writing, that charts the search for the final, 10th "insight." Kramer, however, felt he had discovered the 10th insight, and Jennifer recites it: "Learn from the beauty of the eye that beholds the beauty of the world yet is blind unto itself, the difference between night and day. The eye is a perfect instrument."

The second book, also a best-seller, is "Embraced by the Light," Betty J. Eadie's account of dying and discovering that the universe is driven by divine forms of energy called spirits, of whom she--and we as well as Jesus--are one. Her basic point is that her birth on Earth was not the beginning of her life; instead, it was just one of the many brief "forms" her spirit would take in its infinite lifetime.

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