Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dean John E. Cribbet dies

Cribbet_John It is with a heavy heart that I report on the passing of Dean John E. Cribbet (University of Illinois College of Law) on May 23, 2009.  Although I visited with Dean Cribbet only a few times while studying at the University of Illinois as he was the Chancellor at that time, I found him to be one of the most amazing individuals I had ever met.

Here are some excerpts from Former UI Chancellor, Law School Dean John Cribbet dies at 91, University of Illinois:

Cribbet, chancellor of the Urbana campus from 1979-84, was a well-known legal scholar and pioneer in the field of property law. His books include the widely used "Cases and Materials on Property," a law textbook now in its eighth edition [GWB: This is the only book from which I've taught Property].

"John Cribbet transformed all that he touched - the university, the College of Law, and, most importantly, his students and colleagues," said Bruce P. Smith, the dean of the college and Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar. "He was a legendary teacher and scholar in the field of property law. But he was also a terrific person. * * *

Former U. of I. President Stanley Ikenberry, who worked with Cribbet during his five years as chancellor, said: "John Cribbet represents the very best of the University of Illinois. He gave a lifetime of dedication and commitment, and was a person of great talent, great intellect and great character who helped both build and exemplify the greatness of the university." * * *

Colleagues say Cribbet's first love was teaching. A perennial outstanding faculty selection by students, he returned to the law school after resisting Ikenberry's efforts to stay on as chancellor and taught for 12 years before retiring in 1988. * * *

"Cribbet was born Feb. 21, 1918, in Findlay, Ill., a son of Howard and Ruth Cribbet. He earned his bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1940, and enrolled at the University of Illinois College of Law.

In the summer of 1941, Cribbet interrupted his studies to enlist in the U.S. Army as a private. Over the next four years, he rose in rank and responsibility, completing his military career as a major and aide-de-camp for 8th Corps Commander Gen. Troy Middleton. Cribbet's distinguished service earned him the Bronze Star and Croix de Guerre.

Cribbet earned his law degree from Illinois in 1947. After a few months in private practice in Bloomington, Ill., he was recruited to the College of Law faculty by long-time Dean Albert J. Harno. Cribbet was an assistant professor from 1947-1951, associate professor from 1951-1953, and professor beginning in 1953. * * *

Cribbet was a well-known legal scholar, writing or co-writing numerous articles and texts. He also founded the University of Illinois Law Forum, now known as the University of Illinois Law Review, and served as its first faculty editor.* * *

Cribbet is survived by his wife, Betty, and daughters Pamela and Carol Ann and their families. The couple married Dec. 24, 1941.

A memorial service will take place Saturday (May 30) in the Max L. Rowe Auditorium in the College of Law in Champaign. The service will begin at 2 p.m.

Read News Gazette article - "Life Remembered: Ex-UI dean, chancellor John Cribbet a pioneer"

Read Chicago Tribune article - "John E. Cribbet, 1918-2009: Former U of I chancellor, law dean"


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