Joseph Cropsey, Rest in Peace

The Claremont Institute, January 13, 2015.


Our lives were twined and intertwined in many ways. Joe entered the doctoral program in economics at Columbia soon after receiving his undergraduate degree in the spring of 1939. If anyone had told him then that his career would be in political science, he would have thought them crazy. But Joe had always been a fan of Adam Smith, and he resolved to get through as much of the doctoral program as possible in whatever time he had before military service intervened. In less than two years he had completed every requirement except the dissertation. From that day to this, I’ve never known anyone else to accomplish this astonishing feat. Needless to say, during this time, the seat of his pants seldom left the seat of his chair. One day however he found time for me in his room near the library, and the conversation drifted to the subject of his social life. (Not mine, since at that time I had none.) There was a young lady, a year (or maybe two) behind us at Lawrence High School, who was also a cousin of Bob (“Dinny”) Dinerstein, one of a tight little knot of friends who faced the world together, friends who didn’t think much of the world, but who thought all the world of each other, and who would remain friends to the end of their lives. I can foreshorten this tale by mentioning that Dinny was best man at Joe and Lill’s wedding soon after Joe came home from the war. Before Joe left for the war however we had a wrestling match (verbal) over whether he should make a telephone call to someone who—my private information told me—was anxiously awaiting it. At the end I broke a stalemate by declaring that if he didn’t make that call, I would. That did it! All good things followed.

Claremont Institute