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Dr. Joseph T. Criscenti

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Dr. Joseph T. Criscenti, a professor of Latin American history at Boston College, and World War II veteran died January 3, 2013 of congestive heart failure at the Tippett Home in Needham. He was 92. Dr. Criscenti was born in Detroit, Michigan and attended the University of Detroit. After receiving his Bachelors degree in 1942, he was inducted into the army and assigned to the Adjutant Generals Section in General MacArthurs headquarters in Manila. He was awarded the Bronze Star for reconstructing the historical record of changes in the armys organization in the Philippines up to the Japanese seizure of Corregidor. As an Army Reservist, Dr. Criscenti became the commander of a military history detachment assigned to the Office of Military History, the Pentagon. He retired from the army in 1980 as a Lieutenant Colonel. After WWII, he attended Harvard University and received a Ph.D. in History in 1955 with a specialization in Latin America. He was a history professor at Boston College from 1955 to 1988 and retired professor emeritus of history. He specialized in Argentine history, especially the formation of the Argentine Republic. His article Argentine Constitutional History, 1810-1852: A Re-examination, published in the Hispanic American Historical Review, won the James Alexander Robertson Prize of the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH) in 1961. After retirement, Dr. Criscenti remained active in his field. He edited the book Sarmiento and His Argentina published in 1993 and completed thirteen years as a contributing editor of the Handbook of Latin American Studies published by the Library of Congress. His other publications include numerous articles in Helen Delpar, ed., Encyclopedia of Latin America (1974) and many other articles and book reviews. Dr. Criscenti was a founder of the New England Council of Latin American Studies, and the Secretary-Treasurer for nearly twenty years. In honor of his efforts, NECLAS now offers the annual Joseph T. Criscenti Best Article Prize. During his research trips to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, he purchased books for the Boston College library which now has a large collection of Latin American materials. During his later years, Dr. Criscenti continued to enjoy reading Latin American history and the Wall Street Journal. Throughout his life, he enjoyed opera, good food and wine, and learning about the heritage of the people around him using his Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French language skills. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jacqueline P. (Penez) whom he met at a faculty party at Boston College, his daughter, Louise J. who works at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, his brother Sam, a retired engineer from in Detroit, MI, his sister-in-law Lily Ethier of Newton, and several nieces and nephews. A Funeral Mass was held for Dr. Criscenti on January 7, 2013 in St. Bartholomew Church, Needham. Interment with military funeral honors followed at Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline. Funeral arrangements made by George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, Needham. For online guestbook, gfdoherty.com

Published in The Needham Times from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14, 2013
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