Cravens, Hamilton Dr. Hamilton Cravens, historian and university professor, died in Minneapolis on Tuesday, November 24, at the age of 77. He was born in Evanston, Illinois, on August 12,1938, the third child of Charles Turner Cravens and Flora Hamilton Cravens. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington and later earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa. After teaching at Ohio State University for several years, he accepted a position at Iowa State University in 1968. He taught in the Iowa State history department for the next 42 years and was named a distinguished scholar in arts and humanities in 2006. During his long professional career, he was awarded several Fulbright awards, serving as Fulbright professor in Germany at Goettingen University (1988-89) and at Bonn University and Max Planck Institute (1997). In 2007, he was a Distinguished Fulbright scholar at the Roosevelt Study Center in the Netherlands. Since moving to Minneapolis in 2011, he has been affiliated with the History of Science and Technology Department of the University of Minnesota. During his fifty-year professional career, he authored numerous books and articles and two of his books, The Triumph of Evolution and Before Head Start, are considered classics in his field. He was working on a history of the social sciences at the time of his death. He was a member of the American Historical Association, the American Studies Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the History of Science Society. An ardent Democrat, he supported a variety of progressive causes and used Facebook as a vehicle for frequent comments on politics and current affairs. He loved jazz, dining out, and corny jokes. He was a mentor to young historians and had many friends within his profession, some dating back to graduate school days. He is survived by his wife, Carole Davis Kazmierski; his daughter, Heather (Jamie) Watne; his son, Chris (Michelle) Cravens; his two stepsons, David (Jennifer) Strahan and Mark Strahan; four grandchildren, Ty Watne, Madison Cravens, Emily Strahan, and Natalie Strahan; his brother, Charlie Cravens; his sister, Virginia Vater; numerous nieces and nephews; and countless students. He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved brother-in-law, Walt Vater, and his first wife, Joan Pemberton Cravens. A memorial service will be held at Lakewood Cemetery on Saturday, February 20, 2016. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to KBEM (JAZZ 88 FM), the public radio voice for jazz and education in the Twin Cities.
Published on November 29, 2015
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