Dr. Norman Pollack

Pollack, Norman photoEast Lansing

Star-of-David-emblem47Norman Pollack, beloved husband of Nancy Pollack, devoted father of Peter and Sallie Pollack and loving grandfather of Maxwell, Laura and Zachary Pollack passed away on June 11, 2017, at the age of 84.

Dr. Pollack was Professor of History emeritus at Michigan State University and previously taught at Yale University and Wayne State. His published works include The Populist Response to Industrial America, The Humane Economy, and The Just Polity. His most recent work, Capitalism, Hegemony and Violence in the Age of Drones, is being prepared for publication. He was a passionate teacher and a longtime participant in civil rights and anti-war movements. Active as a runner, cyclist and mountain hiker, he enjoyed involving family in these challenging activities. As we remember Norman, we feel his kindness, fairness, and special sense of humor.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at Evergreen Cemetery, Lansing. Arrangements are by the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel.

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7 Messages to “Dr. Norman Pollack

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Jeffrey Pollack, Seattle Washington
June 12, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Norman was a man committed to his cause. He was a quintessential activist and ‘progressive’. I can remember visiting Norman & Nancy at their apartment in New Haven when Norman was at Yale. I was pretty young when my folks took me, my brother and sister up for a weekend visit from Fairfield. Some portion of the papers around Norman’s apartment were probably early ‘Letters to the Editor’ of the Yale Daily News….an editorial legacy that Norman maintained until recent past months with his frequent writings to CounterPunch and the New York Times.
Possibly the best honor we can pay to Norman is for all of us to keep up the good fight in the name of truth, justice and integrity. There has been no time in recent history when these attributes are in such short supply, and ever more essential.
Norman’s dedication and devotion will be missed by all who knew him.

Jill Capuzzo, Riverton, New Jersey
June 13, 2017 at 11:39 am

Norman was a true scholar and a man of integrity, energy and purpose. I always enjoyed listening to him at our extended Pollack reunions, which, unfortunately, have become less frequent in recent years. His passion for left-leaning politics was only matched by his love of old cars.
My thoughts are with you, Nancy and Peter. I’m sure you will be missing Norman’s bright wit and insightful comments.
All my love,

Laurie Trainor, Santa Rosa, CA.
June 13, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Norman was a special individual. Always stimulating and a truly a deep thinker. Besides his passion for politics, I remember wonderful talks with him about modern art, architecture and design. He had an artistic side to him too that I always admired.

Besides his intellectual side, he had a sweet temperament, and laughed easily.

His unique spirit and warmth will be missed by all of us.

Claudia H Remenar
June 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Norman and Nancy were an important part of our lives for over a decade during our weekly visits to their East Lansing home for…..piano lessons. Nancy would work with my daughters and Norman would be off in his study pursuing his many intellectual interests. I would also run into them at our shared health club. I am sorry to hear about Norman’s passing and know the world was a better place from him living here.

Joe Barnwell
June 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

I am moved to tears this morning upon discovering that Norman died last week.. A couple of years ago he took the time to conscientiously reply to an unsolicited mini-manifesto I had sent. In doing so, he displayed the kindness and commitment to social justice that was his nature. I know of only a couple of remaining “Norman Pollacks.”
I’ll remember you on a special little beach today, Norman, and in other places at other times. Thanks.

Beth and Albert Cafagna
June 18, 2017 at 8:06 pm

We knew and loved Norm for many decades because my father, Thomas Greer, and my husband, Albert Cafagna taught at MSU. They all worked together for academic freedom and for the professors to have more input into the policies of the university. We were comrades in many political activities starting in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War protests. Al and Norm both owned British cars, which they sometimes spoke about. Mostly, we remember Norm’s beautiful smile, his thoughtful conversations, his keen intellect, his dedication to physical exercise and outdoor challenges, his courage, and his love for his family. We enjoyed seeing him and Nancy often at the MAC, where he swam and maintained his strength. We will miss him very much! Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends. Love and Peace, Beth & Al Cafagna

Catherine Oglesby
June 20, 2017 at 10:48 am

Dr. Pollack was truly one of a kind. A physically small man who appeared quirky and eccentric, he was a towering intellect with a probing, penetrating mind, whose genius and exacting standards could intimidate students, especially a woman from the deep South in the early 1990s. After many efforts on my part, he agreed to direct my dissertation. I knew it would be a challenge and was not entirely sure I was up to it, but I wanted the benefits of his intellectual discernment. He had the uncanny ability to do what historian Edmund Morgan said in a letter to me in the mid-1980s about Perry Miller, namely that he found insights in your work that you did not know were there. Dr. Pollack did that for me more than once. We slugged our way through course-work and a dissertation, and I have been grateful ever since for his intellectual and moral example, and for his willingness to work with me. Today, I continue to feel his influence in whatever I do professionally. However, Dr. Pollack was not merely an intellectual giant, he was a kind, gentle soul who lived his faith in human possibility, in Tikkun Olam. And today that, among all the gifts he offered, is the one for which I am most grateful.


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