user-pic

Alumni

Vote 0 Votes

33 Replies

  • user-pic

    Gary was truly one of the most compassionate individuals I have ever known. As my mentor, advisor and friend, I always looked forward to his contemplative, thought-provoking insights. Spending time with Gary was calming yet motivating. He afforded me rare moments to relax, explore, and see our complex world through a frame of hope. Perhaps that was a gift from his agricultural roots, his seminary studies, or his family. From wherever it derived, it was genuine and heartfelt. Nobody believed in the greater good quite like Gary DeCramer. You could see it in his eyes. Hear it in his voice. He inspired us to dream.
    ~Nathan Volz, MPA '09

  • Gary DeCramer was a colleague, friend and mentor. His rare combination of passion and compassion for the pursuit of the common good and his genuine decency and regard for people is going to be missed. Gary leaves a legacy of having contributed much to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, to the State of Minnesota, and to people around the world. I join with others in mourning his loss and celebrating his life.

    - Jim Lewis

  • user-pic

    Gary DeCramer was simply one of the best. When with you, he was truly present— listening, caring, guiding, and loving. He is one of those "but fors," in my life, encouraging me many times in my pursuit of a master's degree, even through some difficult struggles. He was so kind and gracious. Like so many others, I miss and mourn him. I send me deepest, heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. Every day, I live out my values and my beliefs, which Gary had a help in shaping. I will continue to do so, honoring all that he was and all that he gave, and celebrating his life, love, and laughter. All I can say is thank you. He will always be in my heart.
    Eileen Harvala

  • user-pic

    It is so hard to imagine HHH without Gary De Cramer. Gary's warmth and ready interest in what his students were doing was unbeatable. As a friend, advisor and colleague, his kind and engaging spirit will be sorely missed. We were blessed to know him and have him with us.
    Burke

  • Gary created a loving community in the classroom. He brought out the best in each of us and made us all fall in love with the idea of working together to create a better world.

    He was kind, gentle, and principled. He represented the best of what Minnesota has to offer the world.

    Gary's life shows his response to the poet, Mary Oliver's question, "What is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?"


    Jocelyn Hale
    Executive Director
    The Loft Literary Center

  • user-pic

    With deep sadness I received the news of Gary's death.

    I worked for Gary as a research assistant while completing my joint M.A.-J..D. programs. We spent many hours driving to all corners of Minnesota in performance of a research project through the Center for Transportation Studies.

    Gary had wonderful insights into the personalities and culture of Minnesota away from the Twin Cities. As others have noted, he had a gentle soul. I learned much from him.

    I hope his wife and daughters are buoyed by the knowledge that Gary's legacy will live on through the many students, friends and professionals he touched.

    Jim MacGillis
    M.A., 1998

  • user-pic

    I am greatly saddened to hear of Gary's passing. He was my advisor while I pursued my MPA degree. I recently ran into Gary a few weeks back and he was the same Gary I knew back then -- we had not seen each other in a few years -- he was kind, considerate, genuinely interested in what I had been doing since graduation, uplifting and encouraging. All of this and more with that Gary smile! Anyone who crossed paths with Gary knew how much he cared for their well being and how much he wanted them to succeed. I will always treasure that about Gary. He is one of those people who made an indelible impression on my life.

    Kimberly Swain Simon

  • user-pic

    Gary was one of my supervisors with I worked at SLPP in '96-97. He was very kind, enjoyable to work with, and gave me the benefit of a doubt at a time when I was unsure of myself. I will miss him. Blessings to Gary and his family.

  • user-pic

    I feel blessed to know Gary and being a student of the MPA program under his leadership. Gary was such an amazing person, our mentor, our friend and the soul of the Humphrey community. He always had the time to open his door for us and patiently listened to our personal and professional matters. I had to move to another state half way of my MPA program and Gary helped me to find the best way to remain a student at the Humphrey. He inspired us in so many ways, his continuous enthusiasm bettering the MPA program and serving the public good made me proud to be part of the Humphrey community. I remember our deep and cheerful conversations of politics, the public good and family. Those valuable conversations gave me courage and guided through some difficult times. I will miss them so much as I will miss entering the building and seeing Gary smiling and waving from the hallways. I have not known such a wise, colorful and compassionate person like Gary. Thank you for all the knowledge and positive energy you shared with us. We will miss you but your legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in our mind.

  • user-pic

    Please make sure let us alums know about future opportunities to gather at the School or elsewhere to celebrate Gary as a friend and colleague…gosh, this is really hard…I saw him just last Friday…

    Thanks.

  • user-pic

    Dean Schwartz,
    I am stunned and saddened by this news. Please do let us know funeral plans and if there is a memorial fund/scholarship. Let me know if there is any way I can help.
    Thank you.
    Erich C. Morris MPA 2010

  • Gary was one of the most decent men I have ever known. He exemplified “living out your values”. Gary believed in the common good, and made it happen all around him. He inspired me in the classroom, he reassured me in his office, and he supported and encouraged me in the community. His calm & gentle presence, his ever-present smile, his warm hugs and unwavering support will be deeply missed by so many people. He is gone far too soon. And I am so much richer for having known him.

    Kim Klose

  • user-pic

    Gary did so much for so many, myself included. He transformed great ideas into even greater actions that touched our hearts and challenged our minds. The way he lived his life was an inspiration to me and countless others. Although he will be deeply missed, he will never be forgotten.

    Catherine Ryan
    MPA 2008

  • user-pic

    Gary may have never known just how many people's lives he touched, changed, and greatly improved. He helped rekindle my faith in humanity, reinvigorate my drive to serve, and truly led by example. He was servant leadership in action and at its finest!

    I have my work cut out for me in working towards fulfilling his legacy. But as he always taught me, I'm up for the challenge and it's the least I can do to help pay it forward!

    Thank you Gary for your friendship, guidance, and for everything you have done for me and so many others!

    Matthew DuFresne
    MPA 2007

  • user-pic

    Gary, my trusted advisor, teacher and friend. You have impacted so many lives, especially mine. You created community and taught us to open our minds, our hearts, and our doors to one another. Thank you for inspiring us to be and do our best, always. You will be dearly missed.

    -Annie (Pennola) Pearson

  • user-pic

    I had the great fortune of learning from and being inspired by Gary DeCramer during my time at the Humphrey Institute. Gary was my mentor in the HHH mentor program, and I benefited so much from his sound advice and genuine interest in my goals and aspirations. I also took Gary's capstone seminar, which was fittingly about ethics in nonprofit leadership. It was one of the highlights of my graduate studies. I feel so grateful to have crossed paths in life with such a wonderful mentor and teacher as Gary. May we all live in his spirit of public service.
    Kara Slaughter
    JD/MPP 2005

  • user-pic

    Like so many have already written, Gary was an amazing individual filled with compassion and passion for the work he did and the lives he touched. I deeply valued, and benefitted, from his ability to inspire through his belief in each person and in the ability of us collectively to make a difference through public service. He greeted the world with an open heart and commitment to justice and integrity. I am grateful to have had him as a mentor. My thoughts go out to Estelle and his beautiful girls of whom he was so proud.

  • user-pic

    Gary was always kind, greeting me with a smile, always glad to see me. He eagerly talked to my friends considering the MPA and supported them, too, when they signed up. I'll so miss the occasional opportunities I've had to run into him since I graduated. He was a good man. My condolences.

  • user-pic

    I first met Gary at the MPA program orientation. I was ecstatic to have Gary as a teacher for my first class, Leadership for the Common Good. I took this class to "test" the program and determine if I would apply to the program. I eventually did apply for the MPA program due to the wonderful experience I had in Gary's class. Gary was a model of what leadership is and his love of the common good rubbed off on to me. I also had Gary as an adviser and hung on to that relationship as long as possible. I was always welcomed by Gary and I know that he truly cared about me and my studies. Gary will be missed by many. My condolences goes out to his family.

  • user-pic

    Thank you so very much for sharing the news about Gary’s death, and helping to set up a way to remember Gary. As an alumni who had the privilege of working with him, I deeply appreciate the Humphrey Institute so quickly and proactively reaching out on this. ~ Mariia Zimmerman

  • user-pic

    Mr. Schwartz I am an MPA Humphrey Institute alumnus. Gary was my academic advisor, friend and mentor. This is not only a great loss to Humphrey Institute, his friends, students and to his family but also to humanity in general. Please pass my condolence to his wife and daughters if you can.


    Ahmed I. Yusuf

  • I am a MPA class of 2005. When I entered the program not knowing what to expect and unsure I met Gary, then I knew that I was in the right place. Gary had an incredible way to connect with others, he was so sensitive and understanding of others situations. I asked him if he would serve as my advisor, he did not hesitate to accept. I asked him because I felt so comfortable with him, he encouraged and supported me until I graduated . After finishing the program I stayed in touch with him for some time and he was always willing to listen and advise even when he was no longer obligated to do so. I feel very fortunate that I had the privilege to know Gary. My thoughts go out to his family.
    Eduardo Barrera

  • I am a MPA class of 2005. When I entered the program not knowing what to expect and unsure I met Gary, then I knew that I was in the right place. Gary had an incredible way to connect with others, he was so sensitive and understanding of others situations. I asked him if he would serve as my advisor, he did not hesitate to accept. I asked him because I felt so comfortable with him, he encouraged and supported me until I graduated . After finishing the program I stayed in touch with him for some time and he was always willing to listen and advise even when he was no longer obligated to do so. I feel very fortunate that I had the privilege to know Gary. My thoughts go out to his family.
    Eduardo Barrera

  • I, too, had the pleasure of having Gary as my advisor and one of my instructors for Leadership for the Common Good. I appreciated Gary's experience, his ability to relate to my aspirations and his continued encouragement to serve. I admired Gary for taking the risk of "keeping it real" during our conversations. My prayers go out to his family and friends.

    Charissa Bryant Jones, MPA 2005

  • user-pic

    Gary was more than a teacher, adviser, mentor, and friend to me, he was the complete parkage. He has a rear gift in dealing with people, no matter who you are, you feel at home and respected in his presence. He was definitely a true gift to the HHH and all of us, I will surely miss him.

    Pa Modou Ann, MPA 2010

  • user-pic

    Gary was a very caring and warm individual - a true Servant leader! Whenever I met with him for advice regarding course selections, projects etc, I left feeling inspired and encouraged to do and be my very best. It was always a pleasure to see his big smile or hear his voice, when walking through the atrium at HHH. He will surely be missed! My condolences to his family!

    Marjorie H. Nebo

  • user-pic

    My heartfelt thoughts are with Gary's family, friends and associates. Gary embodied intelligence beyond knowledge, faith beyond religion, passion beyond politics, empathy beyond sympathy, strength beyond striving and caring beyond concern. He didn't preach; he lived, acted and demonstrated. He was more than the best advisor I ever had, he was a friend and support system, and he introduced me to a faith I can believe in. His life improved the lives of thousands of others; the world has truly lost a Good Man.

    Renee Marie Norman

  • user-pic

    I too was shocked and saddened. Gary was an excellent teacher whose enthusiasm for ideas and debate profoundly shaped my Humphrey experience. I am grateful. Peace, Gary.

    Jon Siess

  • In Memory of Dr. Gary DeCramer,

    I am so very fortunate to have had Gary as one of my final instructors Spring 2011 for Foundations of Ethical Practice. He had great insight in public service and helped me discover answers deep inside myself and explore why I wanted to study public policy in his course.

    I particularly enjoyed our one-on-one conversations after class, and I very much appreciated his sincerity, honesty, and genuine kindness he showed me.

    I learned so very much from him, and I will truly miss him. I finally want to thank him, and let his family know, that his letter of recommendation for my application to the United States Navy was beyond superb. I could not have asked for a more perfect letter. I am positive that his wonderful letter will contribute in providing me the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Navy in the near future. I know for sure that Gary's legacy and memory will live on, through my work and the work of others.

    With my deepest condolences,

    Long Vo
    Master of Public Policy
    Humphrey School of Public Affairs
    University of Minnesota

    PA 5106 "Foundations of Ethical Practice"-Spring 2011 with Dr. Gary DeCramer

  • user-pic

    At times of stress, at times of confusion and times of joy, Gary was there to ease the stress, provide clarity and share the joy. Even after changing from student to Alumni, Gary was there. I received an email from him the day before he passed and in a few wards he provided encouragement, comfort and to sum everything that Gary is about...Love. He will be missed but his legacy will keep giving.

    Yasin Alsaidi
    MPA 2011

  • user-pic

    I moved to Minnesota to attend the MPA program and Gary helped me immensely - always taking time out of his busy schedule to assist me and answer my questions. He was also my advisor and instructor of my synthesis workshop. I really appreciated his warmth, wisdom, compassion and inuititive abilities.
    Karen Gromala Gaides
    MPA 2005

  • Gary was a true mentor for me and revealed me tools that helped me a lot in my business and in my personal life. In this matter i want to thank him for everything... I'm sure he is helping the angels to do a better job there. Alex, MPA '07

  • Hmm, well oh well. It is so hard to imagine HHH without Gary De Cramer. Gary's warmth and ready interest in what his students were doing was unbeatable. As a friend, advisor and colleague, his kind and engaging spirit will be sorely missed.



Gary DeCramer, a senior lecturer and director of the mid-career Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program, died suddenly on March 7, 2012, while on a trip to Morris, Minnesota. He was 67.


DeCramer joined the Humphrey School in 1992. Before leading the MPA program and teaching courses on leadership, DeCramer served as a state senator representing the southwestern region of Minnesota, as state director of USDA Rural Development, principal planning analyst for Hennepin County's Office of Planning and Development, senior fellow in the Humphrey School's State and Local Policy Program and the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies, and interim president of Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota.

We welcome all to leave memories or condolences in the respective category, as we all mourn this tremendous loss.

Please e-mail hhhevent@umn.edu with any questions.



       Start a new threaded discussion topic!

Forum Groups