Professor Fred Gottheil

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Professor Fred Gottheil

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  • Biography

    Professor Fred Monroe Gottheil died at home in Urbana on April 17, 2016 after a several month-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Professor Gottheil was born December 1, 1931 in Montreal, Quebec to the late Jenny and Morris Gottheil. He grew up in the vibrant Jewish community of Montreal and liked to cite Philip Roth's contention that yelling is how Jews think; friends and colleagues know that he was good at both things indeed. Fred was a Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, joining the faculty in 1959. He became Professor Emeritus in 2014 but he continued to teach and do research and fully intended to do so for another 54 years, at least. He fell in love with the subject of economics at McGill University where he earned his B.A. degree before moving to the United States to earn his M.A and Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. He intended to return to Canada but accepted a professorship at the University of Illinois in order to see more of the U.S. What was to be a one-year venture turned out to be over 54 years on the faculty doing what he loved most, studying, writing about, and teaching economics. Eventually, Fred became a citizen of the United States but he always loved his home country Canada.

    Fred's first book was Marx's Economic Predictions and he later authored The Principles of Economics, now in its seventh edition. He published numerous articlesas well as several book chapters. His publications reveal his eclecticism as he wrote about comparative economic systems, Marxian economics, the economics of oil, the economy of Israel, the so-called Irish miracle, health care economics, and other topics. Fred also was a core faculty member in the UIC College of Medicine at UC's Medicine and Society course. He was a visiting professor at Northwestern University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and he presented lectures on Middle East issues at many universities and conferences including in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Brazil. Fred also had an interest in public policy and during the Carter administration served as a White House consultant on the Middle East and offered expert testimony to several Congressional committees. More recently he met with Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to advocate against the expansion of gambling in the State, presenting evidence that it provided no economic benefits and indeed was a tax on the poor.

    Fred's son Joshua died tragically from lymphoma at age 19. In tribute to Josh's memory and the nurses who tried so valiantly to save his life, Fred and his wife Diane, who survives him, founded the Josh Gottheil Memorial Fund for Lymphoma Research that provides educational grants to oncology nurses. As a reflection of their Zionism and Josh's love for Israel they also established the Josh Gottheil Youth to Israel Fund as part of the CU Jewish Endowment Foundation, and in tribute to Josh's love for music every year the Josh Gottheil Music Award is presented to a student at Urbana Middle School. Fred was surrounded in his life by University of Illinois students in an enormous mutual affection society. Many of his dearest friends were former students and hundreds of undergrads that he never got to know personally were among the most dedicated fund-raisers for the Josh Gottheil Memorial Fund, known as Josh's Fund. For over ten years Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has dedicated all their philanthropic efforts to Josh's Fund. During his illness, Fred was cared for with great dedication by a Carle Hospice team and Rescare CNAs.

    Even more than Fred's love for economics was his love for his family. He married Diane Levitt on December 20, 1966. He is also survived by their daughter Lisa and her partner Nick Lewis and their children who brought great joy to his life, Jaya Lewis and Hudson Lewis, of New York City, his sister Elaine Rodier of Aventura, FL, his sister-in-law Sandra Holleb of Wheeling, IL, and numerous nieces, nephews, and their families. In addition to his son and his parents, Fred was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law Irwin and Pauline Gottheil, and his brother-in-law David Holleb.

    Donations in Fred's memory may be made to Josh's Fund, 509 E Holmes, Urbana, IL 61801, CU Jewish Endowment Foundation, 503 E. John, Champaign, IL 61820, or Urbana School District 116, 205 N Race, Urbana, 61801.

    Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 19 at noon at Sinai Temple, 3104 Windsor Road, Champaign, with interment following at Mt. Hope Cemetery. 

    May the memory of Fred Gottheil always be a blessing.

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