“He was the best teacher I ever had. There are so many people I encountered who would say the same thing,” said Betsy MacIver Neiva, who was one of his doctoral students in the early 1990s and is now an administrator and teacher at a private school in Philadelphia.
“From Professor McCraw’s painstaking edits of every book review and chapter I turned in, I learned how to write,” she said. “To this day, each time I remove an unnecessary comma from a sentence, I think of him.”
Often suffering from back pain, Dr. McGraw used special chairs in his office and attended faculty meetings by lying on a portable chaise lounge he carried with him, friends said. He had endured poor health since his late 40s, according to his wife.
“He coped with such adversity when I was working with him,” MacIver Neiva recalled. “He was very private about it. He never gave any indication that anything in his life came close to the importance of what I was telling him about.”
In addition to his wife, Dr. McCraw leaves a daughter, Elizabeth McCarron of Wellesley; a son, Thomas Jr. of Bedford, N.H.; a brother, John of Gainesville, Fla.; and three granddaughters.
A service has been held. Burial was in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.
Geoffrey G. Jones, a Harvard business professor who chairs the school’s Business History Initiative, said Dr. McCraw was “a true leader and institution builder.”
“A prolific and lucid author, he repeatedly made the case that history matters to the concerns of today,” Jones said. “He was a master of using biography to deepen understanding of highly complex issues, but he was also a remarkable synthesizer, a skill he employed to pioneer the teaching of global business history.”
J.M. Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.