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Rutgers professor dies from blood cancer

Patrick Carr was a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Program of Criminal Justice. His work focused on the economic and social struggles certain communities face and how these conditions affect young individuals. – Photo by

Patrick Carr, a Rutgers professor in the Department of Sociology and the Program in Criminal Justice, died on April 16 due to multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, according to an article on the School of Arts and Sciences website.

During his career, Carr focused on the struggles of rural communities in postindustrial America, according to the article. His wife, Maria J. Kefalas, who is a professor at Saint Joseph’s University, said he was dedicated to teaching and researching topics involving communities that struggled both economically and socially, as well as how young individuals are affected by these conditions.

“He saw injustice and the structures behind it so clearly,” Kefalas said, according to the article. “Beyond his family, that was his absolute passion.”

When dealing with his illness, Carr continued to teach students and become involved in department events, according to the article.

“(Carr) always said that he was happiest in the classroom,” said Julie Phillips, chair of the Department of Sociology. “Even as he was back in treatment, he didn’t miss a single class meeting.”

Carr also had a large impact on Rutgers’ criminal justice program, said Anne Morrison Piehl, a professor in the Department of Economics and the Program in Criminal Justice, according to the article.

“He was an energetic presence in the classroom, even on days that chemotherapy sapped his energy,” she said, according to the article. “You only had to see him preside over the annual senior celebration to know the depth of his commitment to undergraduates and his joy in their accomplishments.”

Prior to his death, Carr and Kefalas had formed the Calliope Joy Foundation after their daughter was diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy, according to the article. The foundation was developed to help create a network of families to raise money for research into treatments for this disorder.

“Even when he was dying, he was getting up and trying to take care of Cal and carry her around,” Kefalas said, according to the website. “He was pretty amazing, and he was irreplaceable.”

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