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Updated 3:00 PM May 8, 2003



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Robert Craig, former chair, Department of Dental Materials

Robert Craig, the Marcus L. Ward Professor Emeritus of Dentistry and past chair of the Department of Dental Materials from 1967-87, died April 24. He was 79.

A native of Charlevoix, he earned three degrees from U-M: a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1944, a master's degree in chemistry in 1951 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1954.

He joined the School of Dentistry faculty as an assistant professor in 1957 and was promoted to associate professor in 1960. He became a full professor four years later.

In 1969, Craig was named chair of the Department of Dental Materials and served in that capacity until 1987, when the department merged with Oral Biology to form today's Department of Biologic & Materials Sciences. He retired from active faculty status in Aug. 1993.

During his 36-year career with the School of Dentistry, his main research interests focused on the bioscope of materials, properties of polymers, surface effects of materials and experimental stress analysis. In 1957, he launched the Fall Biomaterials Conference, a program held each fall for 35 years.

The awards he received for his work during his distinguished career included the Wilmer Souder Award in Dental Materials (1975), the Clemson Award for Basic Research in Biomaterials (1978), Who's Who in America (1980-81 and several succeeding editions), Who's Who in the World (1982-83 and several succeeding editions), and Who's Who in Frontiers of Science and Technology (1985). That same year he was inducted into the Hall of Honor in the International Biomaterials Center in San Antonio.

After several years of research collaboration with two visiting scholars on the faculty of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Craig was awarded an honorary doctorate from that institution in 1989. In 1991, he received the Hollenbeck Memorial Prize from the Academy of Operative Dentistry. Last fall, he received an award from the American Chemical Society for his 50-year membership in the organization.

Craig distinguished himself nationally and internationally as a dental scholar, researcher, administrator and teacher. He authored more than 260 publications in scientific journals, including two leading textbooks in dental materials. The 11th edition of one of his books, "Restorative Dental Materials," was published last year. He was making revisions for the 8th edition of another book, "Dental Materials: Properties and Manipulation," at the time of his death.

Craig was president of the Dental Materials Group, International Association for Dental Research (1973-74); chair, Biomaterials Section, American Association of Dental Schools (1977-79); chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, U-M Dental Research Institute (DRI) (1984-89); member, DRI planning committee (1977-89); member, DRI scientific review committee (1980-89); and chair, U-M Budget Priorities Committee (1979-81) and committee member (1978-81).

He was an assistant editor and editor, and he served on the editorial board of several professional publications.

Craig is survived by his wife, Georgine, and three daughters.

Thomas Larkin, prof. emeritus, School of Art

Thomas Larkin, professor emeritus of the School of Art, died April 11 of natural causes. He was 82.

A native of Mechanicville, N.Y., Larkin studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago receiving B.A. and M.A. degrees in art education. He was a decorated veteran of World War II, receiving two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star.

Prior to coming to U-M, Larkin taught at the Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls. He was a professor of art at U-M, and during his tenure he served as chairman of the Art Department of the College of Architecture and Design. During his 32 years at the University, Larkin was active in the Michigan Art Education Association and served a term of president of that organization. He also was a longtime member of the National Art Education Association.

On his retirement, Larkin moved to Aspen, Colo., where he vigorously pursued his interests in fly-fishing, hiking, gardening, skiing and working in his studio. He was one of the original ski ambassadors in the Buttermilk Mountain ski area.

His wife, Harriet, preceded him in death. He is survived by Tia Larkin Persson and Dr. Anders Persson, his daughter and her husband, of Bozeman, Mont., as well as his longtime companion, Elva Fitzpatrick.

The Record accepts obituaries from University departments, family members and funeral homes acting on behalf of the family. All obituaries must be for active or retired faculty and staff members.

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