Deaths: Charles Orlebeke

Charles Orlebeke

Charles Orlebeke.

Charles “Chuck” Orlebeke, professor emeritus of urban planning and policy, died July 19 in Winnetka. He was 81.

Orlebeke’s public service and research interests were focused on national urban policy, intergovernmental and urban finance, community-based development and housing policy.

He came to UIC in 1973 as founding dean of the School of Urban Planning and Policy, now the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

After two years at UIC, he was nominated by President Gerald Ford to the position of assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He worked at HUD from 1969 to 1972 as executive assistant to Secretary George Romney, then as deputy undersecretary for policy analysis and program evaluation.

When the Ford presidency ended in 1977, he returned to UIC as a professor of urban planning and policy. He later served as acting dean of the College of Architecture, Art, and Urban Planning from 1991 to 1992, and directed the department of urban planning and policy from 1988 to 1995.

He started as a staff member in Romney’s successful 1962 Michigan gubernatorial campaign and shifted to the governor’s office as administrative assistant for program development. As executive assistant to the governor for planning and program development, he played a leading role in organizing the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

Over the course of his career, Orlebeke participated in several evaluations of federal urban initiatives, including workforce development programs, the Community Development Block Grant program, and the Empowerment Zone program.

He authored numerous publications including a study of the evolution of low income housing policy. His books include Federal Aid to Chicago (1983) and New Life at Ground Zero: New York, Home Ownership, and the Future of American Cities (1997), which documented the early signs of urban renaissance in New York City.

“He was indeed a nationally renowned scholar and will be deeply missed by so many including all of our CUPPA alumni who were influenced by his guidance, kindness, and direction in their studies of urban issues,” said Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

Orlebeke, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, earned a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Michigan State University. In 1960, he received a Fulbright award for research in Australia.

He is survived by his wife, Faith, three daughters, Eva, Alison, and Britany, and eight grandchildren.

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