Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


Walter Gray, Former Department Chair, Passed on April 18

Walter Gray, Former Department Chair, Passed on April 18

It is with great sadness that the Department of History writes that Walter Gray, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of History, passed away on Saturday, 18 April 2015 after a long illness.

Walter Gray was born on 30 July 1925 in Yakima, Washington.  He served in the United States Army in World War II and, at age 19, was present as a member of Patton's 3rd Army at the liberation of Ohrdruf concentration camp.  After the war, Walter earned his BA at Gonzaga University and his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.  He joined the Department of History at Loyola in 1964 and served as chair of the Department 1969-70 and 1980-86.  He also served as Graduate Program Director from 1976 to 1980, taught a wide variety of courses, and supervised nine doctoral dissertations before his retirement in 1994.  At Loyola, he specialized in French History, particularly French diplomatic history.  He was the author of Interpreting American Democracy in France: The Career of Edouard Laboulaye, 1811-1883 (University of Delaware Press, 1994), which was based upon archival research in Paris, Chantilly and the Laboulaye chateau, Le Quesnay, in Normandy.  He also wrote articles on George Sand, Charles De Gaulle, Napoleon III's foreign policy and the Annalist historians.  This research was assisted by a Fulbright Fellowship as well as numerous trips and cultural exchanges, many of them taken with his beloved wife and Loyola colleague, Professor Anne Callahan.  Anyone lucky enough to have been invited to spend time in their home in the John Hancock building knows that it was a center of Gallic culture and its necessary corollary, elegant hospitality.


Walter had this to say about his life's experience and its connection to his scholarship and teaching:


"My experience in WWII and afterward, living in Europe, did have an effect on my choice of profession. My small part in the war has made me very interested in Europe. In my classes, I try to teach my students about the origins of racism and genocide and the terrible consequences they can have. I always make a point to express these things; I don't ignore these problems.   If I'm confronted by a student who does not believe in the Holocaust, I speak very strongly about the truth of it. I let them know I was there."


An oral history interview of Walter on this subject may be found at http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn507454 .  Transcript:  http://collections.ushmm.org/oh_findingaids/RG-50.031.0022_tcn_en.pdf .


Another such interview is here:  http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn507479.


A memorial service will be held in July.  


In the meantime, in lieu of flowers, Prof. Callahan has requested that contributions be made in Walter's memory to the Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center (http://www.carecenter.org/).