Ray Budde, 82, of Amherst, a former assistant professor of Education, died June 11 at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, of respiratory failure complicated by several previous illnesses.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., he graduated from St. Louis University in 1943 and received a master''s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois and, in 1959, a doctorate in education from Michigan State University.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served in the Pacific campaign during World War II and was awarded a Purple Heart.
He worked as a teacher in East Lansing, Mich., after receiving his master''s degree. He moved from teaching to administration in East Lansing, then earned his doctorate.
In 1966, he joined the faculty at the School of Education, where he taught until 1973. He went on to serve 12 years as the director of the Blackstone Valley Educational Collaborative in Upton before retiring.
He broadly introduced the concept and term ''''charter schools'''' in a 1989 article in the magazine Phi Delta Kappan. The article was based on his work at the School of Education and outlined his ideas on facilitating educational reform of the public school system by placing more responsibility for curriculum and instruction in the hands of teachers working directly in partnership with the school board.
Initially, he believed that a system of chartering individual schools with unique educational objectives could create dynamic new learning environments within the existing structure of their home school districts.
As the charter school movement progressed, it quickly expanded nationally to include independent public schools operating outside of the mainstream school administration.
He was the author of "Education by Charter - Restructuring School Districts."
His efforts were recognized by President Bush with an invitation to a White House ceremony honoring charter schools in May, 2002.
He was also actively involved with American Youth Foundation based in St. Louis for much of his life.
He leaves two sons, Scott Budde, of Manhattan, and Stephen Budde, of Chicago, a daughter, Lynne Budde Sheppard, of Stanwood, Wash.; and a grandson; and his partner, Ged Dorman, of Amherst, with whom he lived.
His wife of 39 years, Patricia Ann (Johnson) Budde, died earlier.
A memorial service will be held in Amherst in July.