Walter FIREY
1916 - 2014
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FIREY, Walter

Dr. Walter Firey, professor of sociology at the University of Texas (from Assistant Professor in 1946 to Emeritus Professor in 1985), died peacefully in his home surrounded by loving family members on December 21, 2014 in Austin, Texas.

He was born in Roundup, Montana, August 13, 1916, the eldest son of Dr. Walter I Firey, Sr. and Marie Oveson Firey. Moving with his family to Seattle he graduated from the University of Washington, thence going to Harvard University where he received his Ph. D. degree. Following a year and a half at Michigan State University he joined the faculty of the University of Texas, with visiting appointments at Harvard, Columbia and Michigan State Universities.

Dr. Firey's scholarly interests lay primarily in the fields of land use, natural resources, and social-economic planning, in which he authored numerous books and articles, some of which found expression in his classroom teaching. Among his concerns in these fields was that of identifying the formal conditions under which tradition, ideals, laws, and authority can condition the economic use of land and resources. This concern figured in his books: "Land Use in Central Boston", "Man, Mind and Land," "Law and Economy in Planning." Another of his interests led to the book, "The Study of Possible Societies." His teaching included courses on social institutions, rural sociology, human ecology and sociological theory.

Among his honors was a one-year Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, at Stanford, California, an Award of Merit from the Natural Resources Research Group of the Rural Sociological Society, and a Pro Bene Meritis Award from the Liberal Arts Foundation of the University of Texas.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 62 years, Mary Lou (nee Powell) Firey of Austin; his sons Paul L Firey of Allen, Texas and John E Firey of Magnolia, Texas. He was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Austin, Texas.

Dr. Firey's professional memberships included the American Sociological Association, the Rural Sociological Society, the International Association for Society and Natural Resources and the Sociological Research Associations.

A graveside service was held at Cook Walden Capital Parks Cemetery, on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11:00 am.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 28 to Dec. 29, 2014.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
January 24, 2015
Hello Mary Louise and Walter's family:

We are thinking of moving back to Austin and I decided to check to find out about Walter. I am sorry not to have visited with him one more time before he died. He was an incredibly important person in my life, in many ways but especially in his thinking about cities that has deeply influenced my own. My condolences to all of memories of him are so fond and deep.
Tony Orum
January 17, 2015
Hello, Mary Louise and family,
Jo Ann and I express our sympathy to you and your family on the passing of Dr. Firey.
May God's richest blessings be with all of your family.
Joe and Jo Ann Harber
January 7, 2015
You have been in my prayers. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Walter earlier and have missed our opportunities to meet at Westminster services. May God bless you and yours.
Sue Young
December 30, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Debbie, Bobby, Daniel and Steven Powell
December 30, 2014
My sweet Mary Lou, I am sending you my loving thoughts at this time. Walter, like Ivan, was such an interesting man and I delighted in my conversations (even though brief) with him in his latter years. Love to you and your boys! Kisses. -Kitty Challstrom
December 29, 2014
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Paula Smith
December 28, 2014
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
A. H.
December 25, 2014
Our sincere sympathy and prayers for your loss.
Byron & Janie Tatum
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