Front of Central Hall

Hillsdale College Remembers Phillip M. Crane

November 12, 2014 – Hillsdale, MI

Philip M. Crane, '52The Hillsdale College family was saddened by the news that Trustee Emeritus and alumnus Phillip M. Crane (Class of 1952) passed away on Saturday, November 8. He was an active member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1968 to 2012. Mr. Crane, a former congressman from Illinois who represented Illinois’ 8th Congressional District (previously the 12th District) for 35 years (1969-2004), passed away peacefully at the home of his daughter, Rebekah, on November 8 in Jefferson, Maryland.

After graduating from Hillsdale, Crane served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956. He received a PhD in history in 1963 from Indiana University. His influential book, The Democrats Dilemma, published in 1964, established him as a leading figure in the conservative movement. After then-Illinois Congressman Donald Rumsfeld was appointed to the Nixon Administration, Crane won a special election to Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, a position he held until 2004.

In Congress, Crane championed lower taxes, a simplified tax code, free-market economics, and free trade. He was instrumental in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement. While in Congress, Crane helped establish the Republican Study Committee, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Conservative Union.

A loving father and husband, Phil was preceded in death by his parents, George and Cora Crane, his wife, Arlene, his brother, George, and his daughter, Rachel. He is survived by his siblings, Judy, Daniel and David and his children, Catherine, Susanna, Rebekah, Jennifer, Sarah, George and Carrie in addition to numerous grandchildren.