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ND Economics Professor Charles Craypo Dies

Author: Arts and Letters

Charles Craypo, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Notre Dame, died Sunday (March 22). He was 73.

A native of Jackson, Mich., Craypo served for two years in the Marines before attending Michigan State University where he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in economics. He joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1978 as an associate professor of economics leaving in 1982 for Cornell University, where he was a professor of industrial and labor relations until 1984. He returned that year to Notre Dame to serve as chairman of the department of economics. In 1993, he became the first director of Notre Dame’s Higgins Labor Studies Program, which supports research, teaching, discussion and publication on labor and the economy based on Craypo’s premise that “an understanding that social justice and efficiency are essential ingredients of a truly successful economy.”

“I have known Chuck Craypo for almost 30 years,” said Charles K. Wilber, professor emeritus of economics and Craypo’s predecessor as Notre Dame’s economics chair. “In addition to being a first class teacher, he did path-breaking research on labor relations within the context of industrial organization. He was a great mentor to our doctoral students, directing many dissertations and aiding the new graduates to obtain excellent positions in academia, government and labor organizations. He always had time for colleagues and students alike. He will be sorely missed.”

Craypo was engaged in community-based research for many years, writing and editing numerous books and articles on industrial and labor relations and frequently testifying before federal legislative committees including the U.S. House Committee on Labor; the Senate Judiciary Committee; and the House Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs. His study in the late 1980s of the effects of de-industrialization in “Rust Belt” cities examined in particular the closure of the Studebaker Corporation in South Bend. In the 1990s he was commissioned by the United Way of St. Joseph County to conduct a study of the “working poor,” the results of which were featured in a widely viewed video production entitled Climbing the Down Escalator.

Chuck is survived by his wife, Mary, their son, Jack, their daughters, Carrie Leitzell and Sue Storms, and three granddaughters.

A private memorial service was held on March 24. Condolences may be sent via an online guest book at , and the family has asked that contributions in Craypo’s memory be made to the Higgins Labor Studies Program, 511 Flanner Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

Originally published by Michael O. Garvey at on March 25, 2009.