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Richard B. Craig

Published: February 10, 2013 4:00 AM

Richard B. Craig, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Kent State University, died on February 1, 2013, of complications from leukemia.

He is survived by his former wife Christel, their son Stefan (Christine), four grandchildren (Wil, Elizabeth, Ana, and Ava), his wife of 29 years Deborah, and their three children, Meredith (Matthew), Armand, and Morgan.

Richard B. Craig

Born on January 28, 1935, in Blytheville, Arkansas, and raised in Blytheville, Hermosa Beach, California, and Dexter, Missouri, Dick attended the University of Missouri-Columbia on an athletic scholarship. He received his B.A. in Political Science in 1958. He then joined the Army, serving two years in Germany and four more years in the Army Reserve. Dick returned to the University of Missouri where he received his M.A. in 1963. He then taught social studies and Spanish at Salisbury (Missouri) High School for two years before returning to the University of Missouri to earn his Ph.D. in 1970. His dissertation was published in book form as The Bracero Program: Interest Groups and Foreign Policy.

Dick joined the Kent State faculty in 1969, and his passion for teaching was evident to his students and colleagues. He received the Kent State Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987 and the Distinguished Honors Faculty Award in 2006. He retired in 2000 but continued to teach Latin American Politics and U.S.-Latin American Relations for another 12 years, even as his health began to decline.

Dick's research focus was narcotics trafficking, and he was often asked to testify before governmental committees and agencies, both in the United States and in Latin America. He spent one summer riding with the U.S. Border Patrol along the U.S.-Mexico border.

One of Dick's greatest joys was serving as the director of the Kent in Mexico Program, first in Cholula, Puebla, from 1973-1976 and then in Jalapa, Veracruz, from 1977-1980, during which life-long friendships were made. Another joy, some might say obsession, was sports. Not only was he knowledgeable about sports and athletes, he was often the one yelling the loudest, whether attending one of his children's sporting events or, in particular, a Kent State basketball game.

A memorial service will be held in the Kiva of the Kent State University Student Center at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, 2013. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the McDowell Cancer Center of Akron General Medical Center, 224 W. Exchange St., Suite 180, Akron, Ohio 44302.

(RC 2-10-13)

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martygoetz May 7, 2013 8:21 PM

I was a student of Dr. Craig's and went to Mexico with him in 1973 - Universadid de las Americas in Puebla. Dick was a passionate advocate for excellence, a wonderful professor and a good friend. We pray that his memory will be forever a blessing to his family.

Martin Goetz/Jacksonville, Florida

rabbit Apr 4, 2013 7:01 PM

Dear Deborah and Family,

I just read about Richard's passing and offer you my deepest condolences. Richard was a dear friend and I will always remember his kindness and care for those around him. I send you my thoughts and prayers, Martha Montero-Sieburth

anonymous Feb 10, 2013 4:53 PM

Dear Deb y Familia:

Dick was such a special friend and even more a special character. He touched so many lives, and profoundly so, with his intellect, insight, elfish humor. He was my teacher, my confidente, and my dear friend. And a fighter to boot...from his early days boxing, to his battle with cancer. Dick loved his life, and lived it as fully as he could.

To that we should all aspire.

And to Dick aka El Jefe....Arriba, Abajo, al Centro, par Entro.

Dan Engel (Mexico Program '74-'75)