DR. WILLIAM PELZ
1951 - 2017
BORN
1951
DIED
2017
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.
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12 Entries
my dearest Bill, it has been over two years and I'm still miss you so much. You are truly the love of my life and always will be. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. You will always be in my heart. I think of you as I go to sleep at night,Thinking of you cuddling beside me, keeping me warm. We had such a wonderful travels together. You were absolutely the best traveling Companion. Every trip was so much fun Prague, Japan, Marrakesh, Spain, Portugal, Amsterdam, Brazil, Argentina especially Buenos Aires, and Barcelona. I will never love any man the way I loved you. We were truly soulmates in every way. We like the same art, music, restaurants. I have so many good memories of the two of us together.I will always miss you. With all my love from your wife, Adrienne Butler 4/2/20
Adrienne Butler
Spouse
April 1, 2020
MY BEST PROFESSOR AND DEEPEST SCHOLAR OF THE WORKING CLASS PAST AWAY IN DECEMBER AND I JUST FOUND OUT TODAY. DR PELZ IS AN INSPIRATION AND THE REASON WHY I MAJORED IN HISTORY AND BECAME A TEACHER !!! HE WAS CHARISMATIC, FUNNY AND AN INTELLECTUAL !!! DR PELZ YOU CHANGED MY LIFE AND BECAUSE OF YOU MANY CHILDREN IN THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO AND RURAL NORTH CAROLINA BENEFITED BECAUSE I BECAME A TEACHER AND TAUGHT THEM MANY OF THE THINGS YOU TAUGHT ME !!! THE LOVE YOU DEMONSTRATED FOR LEARNING, THE LOVE FOR LIFE AND THE LOVE FOR THOSE IN NEED, OPPRESSED AND EXPLOITED WILL MARK YOUR LEGACY AS THE SCHOLAR, ACTIVIST, INTELLECTUAL, REVOLUTIONARY, AND AN AMAZING HUMAN BEING I HAD THE HONOR TO MEET AND BE A STUDENT OF. I KNOW CHE GUEVARA AND PATRICE LUMUMBA ARE BY YOUR SIDE WITH KARL MARX CELEBRATING YOUR LIBERATION FROM THIS PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX CALLED EARTH !!! RIP DR WILLIAM PELZ A TRUE MAN !!!
Omar Lozano
Student
April 26, 2018
Gone but not forgotten--so not gone!
Howard Beeth
February 14, 2018
It's taken me quite some time to read this article, as I have avoided it since the dark day took place. Dr Pelz was more than an educator and mentor, he was a dear friend for whom I will always remember. As a 37 year old student, working father of 2 kids, and husband, I had the fortune of a longer than most community college journey, 4 years to be exact, in which I took 9 of Dr Pelz's courses, some of which were at his request, which was a great honor for me. I am truly enlightened by his teachings and of his humbleness, and living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Thank you for the memories, thank you for the lessons, but most importantly thank you for always having open doors and for befriending me. I will never forget you my dear friend and comrade.
Joseph Robedeau
February 2, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss. May you gain much strength and comfort by pouring out your deepest emotions to God in prayer.
Pat
December 23, 2017
I am so sorry to hear of Bill's death and send my deepest sympathy to his family. Bill and I were friends and comrades at Roosevelt University. We were out of contact for a long time but just found each other again (thanks to the internet) a few months ago. What a sad blow it is to say goodbye to this wonderful guy, great teacher, and tireless fighter for justice. I can almost hear him reply, "Don't mourn -- organize!"
Rich Rubenstein
December 22, 2017
Adrienne, we are so sorry for your loss. We were shocked at the news of his passing. Bill will sorely be missed by many. He was so passionate about his work. May your heart soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Veronica Seizys
December 17, 2017
Adrienne,

I am so sorry for your loss. I know he was the love of your life. I loved seeing you and Bill going on your dinner dates together. You will forever have those loving memories in your heart.

Wanda
December 17, 2017
I am so sorry for your loss Adrienne. I know he was the love of your life. I loved seeing both of you together going on your dinner dates, such sweet memories that you will always have in your heart.
December 17, 2017
My condolences to the Pelz family.

Dr. Pelz was my European History teacher at Loyola University of Chicago many years ago. To this day, I remember his brilliant and animated lectures. He always seemed to be able to lecture "off the cuff" because he knew the material so well. He made the subject material interesting, and his class was a bright spot in my hectic college schedule. God bless you for a job well done, Dr. Pelz. Rest in peace.

Sincerely,
A grateful student
December 16, 2017
Dear Dr. Adrienne we are so saddened to hear of your loss and offer our deepest condolences to the Pelz family. May the words at Matthew 5:4 help comfort you during this difficult time.
David and Althea
December 16, 2017
Condolences Pelz family. I am sorry for your loss. May God grant you peace in the coming days and weeks. (Jeremiah 29:11)
December 16, 2017