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Ralph William Pfouts

Obituary Condolences

Ralph William Pfouts Obituary
Ralph William "Bill" Pfouts
1920 ~ 2014
Ralph William "Bill" Pfouts of Boise, Idaho passed away May 19, 2014. A Vigil and Rosary service will be held at 7:00 pm, Monday, May 26, 2014 at Summers Funeral Homes, Boise Chapel, with a viewing beginning at 6:00 pm. Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at St. John's Cathedral, Boise, with burial concluding at Morris Hill Cemetery.
Bill was born the oldest of four children in Atchison, Kansas on September 9, 1920 to Ralph Ulysses Pfouts and Alice Still (Oldham) Pfouts.
Bill graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Kansas in 1942 before joining the Navy. During WWII he commanded a destroyer and accepted the surrender of Japanese officers in Yokohama at the war's end.
He returned to the University of Kansas after leaving the service. He received his M.A. in 1947 and Ph. D. in economics from the University of North Carolina in 1952, whereupon he was immediately appointed Associate Professor. Bill and Kenneth Arrow were Harold Hotelling's most famous students. Bill was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 1958, retiring in 1987. During his tenure at the University of North Carolina he served as Chairman of Graduate Studies 1957-62, and Chairman of the Economics Department 1962-68. Bill was both Vice President and President of the Southern Economic Association (1961-62; 1965-66) as well as the Atlantic Economic Society (1973-76;1977-78) which bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on him in 2008. He also held responsible positions in the American Economic Association, the American Statistical Association, the Econometric Society, and the International Institute of Arts and Letter. Bill was a visiting scholar at the Social Science Research Council, Department of Applied Economics, Cambridge University (1953-54) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962-63) where he worked closely with Paul Samuelson on consumption theory and the theory of multiproduct firms. Bill's research was concentrated in mathematical microeconomics and statistics. He published widely in well-respected journals and always kept advancing the state of economic science. In his later years his efforts concentrated on satisficing theory and fuzzy sets; an effort that culminated this year in the publication of R.W. Pfouts and Steven Rosefielde, Inclusive Economic Theory, Singapore: World Scientific Publishers, 2014.
Bill was very proud of his four years as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. His crowning achievement in those years was as a commander and navigating his ship entirely and perfectly on his own, all the way into Tokyo. His prized possession is his Navy Blue and Gold ball cap with the Navy insignia and words, "World War II Veteran". People inevitably would stop and ask him where he served and when, and then thank him for his service. That always made him proud as an American and as a Navy Veteran.
In addition to his love for all things academic, Bill particularly enjoyed old New Orleans Jazz and Blues. Hew would frequently hum, whistle, or sing "St. Louis Woman", off key, and mostly to himself. He also loved dogs and always had at least one.
Bill married Jane Hoyer in January, 1945. They had four children, two boys and two girls. The younger boy, Thomas, died of congestive heart failure in 1986. Jane, their mother, died of the same condition in November, 1982. Bill and Jane lived in South Bend, Indiana, his native state of Kansas, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Leeds, England. Bill married June St. James of Boise, Idaho on July 14, 2001 in Durham, North Carolina. They returned to Boise at the beginning of May, 2005 where Bill and June have lived ever since... with their three dogs.
Bill is survived by his wife, June of Boise, Idaho; his son, James Pfouts and daughter-in-law, Madelynn of San Luis Obispo, California; his daughter, Susan Portman of Draper, Utah; his daughter, Elizabeth Klenowski and son-in-law, Charles of Brockton, Massachusetts; granddaughters, Diana Eve Staiti and husband Frank of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Mary Elizabeth Klenowski of Weymouth, Massachusetts; step-son, Allan Thunes and wife, Colleen, and their five children, Christopher, Carly, Connor, Carter, and Corey of Apex, North Carolina; step-daughters, Allison Thunes and Cecilia Thunes of Boise, Idaho; step-son, Leland Thunes of Oakland, California; and step-son, Owen Thunes and wife, Clair, and their daughter, Felicity of Sacramento, California.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Alice Pfouts; his younger brother, John; an infant brother, James; his sister, Virginia; his first wife, Jane; and his son, Thomas.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to St. Luke's Hospice/St. Luke's Foundation, 190 E Bannock St, Boise, Idaho 83712 or to the Knights of Columbus, St. John's Cathedral, Council # 8310, 707 N 8th St, Boise, Idaho.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Bill's memorial webpage at

Published in Idaho Statesman on May 25, 2014
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