Bill Pelz, a well-known progressive activist and prolific scholar in the field of European and comparative Labor History died at the age of 66 in in Chicago on Sunday, December 10, 2017, following a heart attack. Bill was born on March 13, 1951 into a working class family on the south side of Chicago. Bill graduated with a Master's Degree from Miami of Ohio University, and earned his History PhD at Northern Illinois University. He became an academic scholar and professor of history and political science at Roosevelt University, DePaul University (where he was Director of Social Science Programs), and for the last 20 years a popular faculty member at Elgin Community College. While at Elgin he participated in myriad on- campus committees, and was the faculty advisor to the Union of Politically Active Students (UPAS) and the Peace and Justice Committee. Subsequent to receiving his History PhD from Northern Illinois University, Bill founded and led the Institute of Working Class History, co-founded the International Association for the Study of Strikes and Social Conflicts, and helped edit the Encyclopedia of the European left. As a scholar, Bill produced many books and articles, including most recently A People's History of Modern Europe (2016, Karl Marx: A World to Win (2011), Against Capitalism: the European Left on the March (2017), as well as serving as editor and reviewer for many books, reviews, and films. Generations of young students in Chicago looked to Bill for inspiration, good humor, generous friendship, and political curiosity. In the international academic community he was widely admired for his commitment to the high principles of justice, and known as a careful, serious, and rigorous historian. He will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Adrienne Butler. A memorial to celebrate his life is being planned for Bill on the afternoon of January 21, 2018. If you are interested in receiving more information about this event, please send your email information to [email protected]
You will be contacted. Monetary gifts in memory of Dr. Bill Pelz can be sent to the Elgin Community College Foundation, 1700 Spartan Dr. Elgin. Il 60123. This fund will be used to support History and Political Science students.
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Published by Chicago Tribune on Dec. 16, 2017.