Frank H. Cassell, 83, a business leader, architect of the War on Poverty and academic scholar, died Nov. 9  at the Glenview Terrace Nursing Home after a brief illness.
A memorial service for Mr. Cassell will be held at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Winnetka Congregational Church.
Mr. Cassell, a resident of Evanston and a former long-time Winnetka resident, was a professor of organization behavior in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management from 1968 to 1985. After becoming professor emeritus he continued at Northwestern as a lecturer in industrial engineering and management sciences at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
A native of Chicago, Mr. Cassell attended Lane Technical High School. He was a track star, setting city records in the high and low hurdles. He was awarded a track scholarship to Wabash College in Indiana, where he majored in history and minored in economics. He later served on the college's Board of Trustees.
After Pearl Harbor, he sought to enlist in the Navy. Poor eyesight disqualified him from military service, but he was soon involved in war production. Mr. Cassell worked on the development and production of remote controlled drones for the Navy and on development of shells capable of penetrating the armor of German tanks.
In 1946 and 1947 he was enrolled in a master's program in economics at the University of Chicago. In 1948, he joined Inland Steel and in 1952 he was promoted to head the department of industrial relations. He was also named vice president of the Inland Steel Foundation. In 1953 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Chicago Urban League, a post he would hold for 39 years.
Mr. Cassell's political involvement had brought him into contact with Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner. In 1961, with Illinois mired in an economic slump, Kerner turned to Mr. Cassell and named him chair of a Commission on Unemployment. The commission issued a comprehensive report outlining strategies for economic development with an emphasis on stimulating far more aggressive research and development activities. It also called for closer linkages between research universities and businesses. Mayor Richard J. Daley later tapped Mr. Cassell to head a blue ribbon committee to find a new leader for the Chicago Sanitary District.
In 1966 Willard Wirtz, Secretary of Labor in President Lyndon Johnson's cabinet, recommended Mr. Cassell to serve as the new head of the United States Employment Service (USES).
With a billion dollar budget, the USES was one of the largest agencies within the Labor Department. Mr. Cassell's job was to help organize the War on Poverty and to radically reduce unemployment, particularly among African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities. It melded his knowledge of employment policy with his commitment to America's minorities. He testified frequently before Congressional committees, and President Johnson personally thanked him for his efforts to secure the passage of critical War on Poverty legislation.
As a member of the Northwestern faculty, Mr. Cassell published numerous articles on topics ranging from unionization of professional workers in the fields of architecture and engineering to the effects of political change upon public administrators, to manpower planning at the microlevel.
Mr. Cassell is survived by his wife of 59 years, Marguerite; two sons, Frank A. and Christopher; four grandchildren, David, Jonathan, Michael and Thomas; and four great- grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Thomas.