The University Record, February 21, 2000


Clarence E. Chrisp

Clarence E. Chrisp, professor of comparative pathology in the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM), died Feb. 8 of pancreatic cancer. He was 65.

He was born May 26, 1934, during the Dust Bowl in Broken Bow, Neb. After high school, he attended Colorado State University and Iowa State University in 1952–54, then taught elementary school in 1954–56 before returning to college at the University of Idaho, where he received a B.S. in bacteriology in 1959. He earned a master’s degree in veterinary science (microbiology) from Washington State University in 1961 and a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from the University of California, Davis, in 1967.

Chrisp joined the U-M in 1967 as an instructor in ULAM, but left in 1969 to head the University of California, Davis, radiology laboratory’s clinical medicine division. He returned to the U-M in 1982 as associate professor of comparative pathology to direct the diagnostic laboratory at ULAM, and was named professor in 1998.

“Dr. Chrisp was a veterinary pathologist who specialized in the diseases of laboratory animals. He began his career as an educator as an elementary school teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Nebraska,” said Howard G. Rush, associate professor at ULAM. “In many ways, that is how he functioned best—in small groups or one-on-one with his students. Many leaders in the field of laboratory animal medicine learned about the pathology of animals used in research sitting across from Clarence at the teaching microscope.

“Clarence was an avid birdwatcher and taught us as much about birds as he did about pathology,” Rush said.

“He also made significant contributions in his role as a pathologist on studies on cancer and aging in laboratory rodents and, more recently, to our understanding of the pathobiology of genetically modified mice,” Rush noted. “Clarence was affectionately regarded as a character by his colleagues and students. He pulled no punches and always gave his honest and unembellished opinion. Characters like Clarence don’t come around very often and tend to leave a lasting impression on those they contact long after they are gone. He will be sorely missed.”

Chrisp was a member of the scientific review board for Laboratory Animal Science in 1998–2000 and served on ad hoc review committees for eight other scientific journals between 1990 and 1996. He authored more than 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals and several chapters in books.

He is survived by his wife Rosalind, Ann Arbor; son Bruce (Laura) Chrisp, San Francisco; son Eric (Anna) Chrisp, Albuquerque; sister June Stone, Gordon, Neb.; and brother Jerry Chrisp, Sargent, Neb.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Memorial Christian Church or to The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Field Office, 2840 Grand River, Suite 5, East Lansing, MI 48823.

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