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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Mourning the loss of Gary DeCramer


Gary M. DeCramer

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.

"It is with a heavy heart I share this news with the Humphrey community," said Dean Eric Schwartz. "Gary has been an integral part of the Humphrey School, with an infectious enthusiasm for the School and its mission. I ask you to join me in supporting Gary’s wife Estelle Brouwer and his daughters at this time of great loss and that you join in honoring the memory and legacy of a man that has meant so much to so many."

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.

DeCramer formerly was a board member for Project Harvest Hope, an organization dedicated to values-based economic and agricultural development in the villages of the Transylvanian region of Romania. DeCramer also was the former chair of the board of directors of DARTS, a nonprofit organization whose 200 employees and 1,300 volunteers provide transportation, care giver, and other services throughout Dakota County. 

He held a master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

If you would like, you may add a message to an online guest book. You also made watch a video of a March 20 memorial service held on campus. Humphrey Fellow Fadia Affash from Syria made this video tribute to Gary.

The Humphrey School continues to look for ways to keep DeCramer's legacy alive. In a message to faculty members, staff, students, and alumni, Dean Eric Schwartz said, "In close cooperation with the DeCramer family, the Humphrey School is honored to establish a Gary M. DeCramer Scholarship Fund to benefit public affairs students at the Humphrey School. We are also honored to provide an initial contribution to the fund of $25,000."

Gifts to the fund can be made online at Checks can be made out to the University of Minnesota Foundation, with "DeCramer" on the memo line, and sent to:

University of Minnesota Foundation
CM - 3854
P.O. Box 70870
Saint Paul, MN 55170-3854

Dean Schwartz addressed Humphrey School students, faculty, staff, and alumni at an impromptu meeting on March 7.

Other Articles

Pioneer Press

Marshall Independent March 8 and March 10, 2012

Minnesota Legislature

Star Tribune

Gary discusses the role of government in Minnesota (video)