Dear Hellmuth family,
I remember Bill as a kind presence when I lived down the street from you in Oberlin. My hearfelt condolences to all of you, and especially to my friends, his sons Peter and Bill.
More of Bill's life:
A Washington, D.C. ,native, Bill graduated from Central High School, then, Yale University, Phi Beta Kappa, B.Sc.1940, PhD '48. His career teaching economics began at Yale immediately after his return from three years service as an officer in U.S. Army, XIXth Corps Field Artillery, during WWII.
His Army service began as instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, earning rank of Captain before leaving for duty, first in England then landing on Omaha Beach in France, June 14, 1944. Although he had a fear of heights, as an artillery observer he made dangerous flights in Piper Cub spotter planes over European front lines of battle in Normandy, Belgium, The Netherlands, through Germany as XIXth Corps advanced to the furthest line closing in on Berlin as far as the Elbe River. Hellmuth advanced to rank of Major. His wartime service awards included the Air Medal and Bronze Star. He received the French Normandy Medal in 1994.
He taught at Yale until 1948 when he was appointed to the faculty at OberlinCollege, Department of Economics where he enjoyed teaching for twenty years and was also Dean of the College from 1960 to 1967.
As Oberlin residents, Bill and Jean helped start the first Unitarian church and other community improvements. Bill was elected to three terms on Oberlin City Council. He was among key community leaders formulating and passing Ohio's first Fair Housing Ordinance (1961), the first such law in the nation to withstand State Supreme Court challenge (Poter v Oberlin, 1965). He also consulted for business, corporations and for metropolitan and regional government finance commissions.
During leaves from Oberlin College, Bill served two years as a staff
economist at the Federal Reserve, specializing in taxation and fiscal policy; gave congressional testimony regarding corporate finance and tax issues; was Visiting Professor at University of Wisconsin; and also to Africa, where Bill was a founding Director of the Tanzanian Economic Research Bureau, a Visiting Professor at University College, Dar-es-Salaam and a Director of the Bank of Tanzania. After coming home, he helped his sons' african friend build his own house.
Hellmuth was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury by Secretary Barr in 1968, working under Assistant Secretary, Stanley Surrey.
Later, Hellmuth and Oliver Oldman co-edited a book of the speeches and
Congressional testimony of Deputy Secretary Surrey. Hellmuth was author and contributor to many books and publications on economic policy including, "Financing Government in a Metropolitan Area ^ with Seymour Sacks;
^Compartive Analysis of Public Utility Taxation in Virginia ^ (for
Revenue Resources and Economic Commission, Virginia); and contributing to ^ The
American Economy ^ by Betty and Leo Fishman.
In 1969, he returned to his academic career as Vice President (Arts), Professor of Economics and member of Board of Governors at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. McMaster Univerity achieved a period of significant growth during his tenure there.
In 1975 Bill and Jean moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he taught for twenty years, retiring as Emeritus Professor.
In Virginia, in addition to University
administration and teaching, Hellmuth served as member of Welfare Advisory Board for the City of Richmond and officer of the Advisory Board for newly founded Richmond Community High School, a college preparatory public school for
gifted students. He also conducted research on various state economic issues.
In partnership with his wife, Hellmuth supported formation of Richmond's Women's Bank (later merged with First Virginia Bank). He volunteered generously in many church, service and political groups and supported education, health, welfare, civil rights, cultural, and local, national and state politics.
As a member of American Economics Association, he served on the Board of the
Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession.
Hellmuth took temporary leave from V.C.U. to work in Riyad as consultant on
economic development issues for the government of Saudi Arabia. His work there addressed inflationary pressures and finance pertaining to rapid economic growth.
When Bill retired to Sacramento, California, he was a guest lecturer at college and community groups; served on community advisory committee for Eskaton retirement communities; tutored reading to school children; continued involvement in state and national political and environmental organizations.
Bill and his wife, Jean, created college scholarship funds for
aspiring students. They traveled extensively; ever curious, perpetual learners; together they visited nearly every state and attended more than a dozen Elder-hostels from Maine to New Mexico; also studying in France. Together they participated in thesis research on communication and aphasia by Sacramento State graduate students after Jean was afflicted by a stroke.
Bill loved baseball. As a child he played the game on the site which is now
the snackbar of the National Zoo. As a young teen, with his brother, in 1933 he organized a regular team playing on the field behind the White House. Hellmuth was an avid fan of his local teams from The Washington Senators, Richmond Braves to the Sacramento River Cats.
Bill's knowledge of baseball history and statistics nearly matched his deep insight into history of state and national legislation and decades of voting records of Representatives and Senators in the U.S. Congress.
William F. Hellmuth had the rare combination of a powerful, analytic mind, probing intellect, prodigous memory and knowledge along with a keen sense of fairness, justice, respect and caring for people. The term "Politically Correct" could have been inspired by Bill!
He loved teaching, enjoyed students' questioning and celebrated their academic and career progress. His ability to quietly, efficiently mobilize organizations and institution with
care for the individuals involved, made him an extraordinary and effective team member and leader. Hopefully, there are more like him
Thank you, Jitendra, Bill would have been so proud of you.
I came to know Dr.Hellmuth in 1965 when I started my career as an economist in the Ministry of Finance in Tanzania, my country of origin. He had also just arrived to head the Economic Research Bureau at the University. He was a kind and gracious man who provided me with his insights into starting my professional career that is now in its 49th year.May his soul rest in peace.