1948 - 2017
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McCHESNEY FRED SANDERSON McCHESNEY (Age 68) On Thursday, October 12, 2017 Fred Sanderson McChesney died peacefully with family at his side, in Washington, DC. Beloved husband of the late Sheila Elaine McChesney; loving father of Madeleine Claire (Eduardo Patricio Wisbrun), Mary Elizabeth ("Lizzy"), Robert William, IV (Kristina Igorevna) and James Edward; and grandfather of Thomas Daniel and Nicolas Matthew Wisbrun. Fred was born in Washington, DC, on November 19, 1948, the son of Robert William McChesney, Jr. and the late Louise Sanderson McChesney, and was raised in Montgomery County, Maryland. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bethesda, MD and Holy Redeemer School in Kensington, MD graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in 1966 and the College of the Holy Cross in 1970. Fred went on to earn his J.D. from the University of Miami in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Virginia in 1982. Fred was the eldest of seven children and was adored by his surviving siblings, Robert William, III, S.J., Michael Joseph, William David (Annie), Kathleen Marie (Brian Alpert), Marie Louise ("Weed") Forte (Greg) and Mary Woodchek (Eric). He was loved and admired by his 13 nieces and nephews. A master storyteller, Fred drew from vast life experiences to provide his material. He was a world traveler with an ever-curious intellect, a voracious reader, an avid baseball fan, a music lover with encyclopedic knowledge of music of the 1950's and 1960's. (His daughter Lizzy, a professional musician known as Lissy Trullie, cites early memories of spending hours listening to the "oldies" with her dad as a source of inspiration). He entertained, amused and delighted his family at their frequent gatherings. He was a giant personality and filled every room he entered. Fred had a gregarious nature and was cherished by his many friends and colleagues. His educational and professional endeavors took him around the country and abroad. He had a special love for France and was fluent in French and German. Fred made lifelong, loyal friends everywhere he went. Fred had a distinguished professional life which began with the practice of law at a large firm in Washington, DC. He went on to serve as the Associate Director for Policy and Evaluation at the Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan administration. The bulk of his substantial career, spanning 35 years, was as a professor of both law and economics at numerous universities, including Northwestern where he was the James B. Haddad Chair from 1999 to 2011, Cornell from 1997 to 1999, Emory from 1983 to 1997, and, most recently, the University of Miami School of Law where he was the de la Cruz-Mentschikoff Endowed Chair in Law and Economics. Professor McChesney's primary teaching and scholarly interests were in the fields of antitrust, corporations, and law and economics, about which he wrote over one hundred books, articles, monographs, and other scholarly works published by leading academic presses and journals. Fred is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work in the field of public choice economics. Public choice economics, recognized with a Nobel Prize in economics for one of its founders in 1986, argues that political actors behave according to private incentives instead of the public good. Fred extended the literature in his 1997 Harvard Press book, Money for Nothing: Politicians, Rent Extraction and Political Extortion, arguing that politicians receive contributions and other rewards not only for acting, but also for threatening to act, and then not executing on those threats. Hence the title of the book. In the 1995 University of Chicago Press Book, Causes and Consequences of Antitrust: The Public Choice Perspective, which Professor McChesney both edited and contributed to, he used public-choice theory to critique claims that antitrust laws serve the public good and are thus vulnerable to special interest groups like other laws. He also wrote extensively on the importance of providing rights to property, noting that the failure to provide such rights historically to Native Americans has been a significant cause of their economic plight. His 2003 Princeton University press book, Property Rights: Cooperation, Conflict and Law, is an important contribution to property rights literature. Professor McChesney was noted for his excellent teaching, received multiple awards for his excellence in the classroom, and was a mentor to many students during his long academic career. Visitation will be held Friday, November 10 from 4 to 7:30 p.m., at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 9705 Summit Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895. There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Redeemer Church on Saturday November 11 at 10 a.m. Burial arrangements are private. In lieu in flowers, donations may be made to the University of Miami School of Law in memory of Fred S. McChesney, 1311 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146. Please view and sign the family's online guestbook at

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Published in The Washington Post from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19, 2017.
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25 entries
November 12, 2017
May all who love Fred and enjoyed his unique presence keep that treasure close in our hearts. He continues to shine and to warm and now without pain or limitations. What a gift he has been in so many lives. I am grateful for having him as my cousin, in my neighborhood, at my school and in family gatherings. He always made me feel so proud!
Mary Ellen Galvan
November 11, 2017
Bob, I'm sorry for the loss of your bro, and of course Smokey was number 1 in many song categories, including leaving (and love). Christine, I am sorry that his grandchildren have lost someone to read Rudyard Kipling poems to them. There's no replacing that. "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."
Joe Ossi
November 9, 2017
A fine man and great scholar. I met Fred in an economics class at U.Va. in the early 1970s. I am sorry that I did not get to know him better. May perpetual light shine upon him.

Alden Abbott
November 8, 2017
To Fred's family: I am so sorry to read of Fred's death. We became friends in 1966 during early morning rowing sessions while freshmen at Holy Cross. Despite not getting to sufficiently interact face to face over the years, we still stayed in touch. He had it all: looks, charm, wit, warmth and intelligence. Holy Cross, and those of us in the Class of 1970 who made his acquaintance, are blessed to have him as an alumnus, classmate and friend. Thanks be to God for Fred and his time with us.
Bernie Monbouquette
November 7, 2017
May The Light of Jesus shining on your soul, Fred McChesney! Bless you rest under God's knees! Best wish to the McChesney family with peace!
Lin Chen
November 6, 2017
Fred was the first male cousin I had and it was always a joy to be around him and to talk to him about anything and everything. His pool was deep and his smile was clever.
David Kane
October 23, 2017
My sincere condolences to the family. I knew Fred both from our time at Holy Redeemer and Good Counsel. While we were not that close, he was a shining star even at HRS. God bless Fred and all the family.
David Arrowsmith
October 22, 2017
I'm so sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I knew your family when you were parishioners at St. Mary in Evanston, and we honored to have had your mom's funeral here. I was literally just thinking about him this week and was shocked when a parishioner told me today that he had died. He will be in our prayers.
Dianne Fox
October 22, 2017
My heartfelt sympathy and love as you grieve the death of this beloved son and brother, Dad, uncle and in my case, cousin. Fred was always so much larger than life. He has contributed a great deal to this world. May he rest in God's close and enduring love.
Mary Ellen Galvan
October 21, 2017
I am so sorry for your loss, may these words from our Heavenly Father bring you comfort - Jeremiah 29:12, 13.
October 20, 2017
God bless you Fred, you are a great friend. May you Rest In Peace.
Sean Murphy
October 20, 2017
Fred was my friend. I will miss him. I hope his family is surrounded by God's love and comforted by His presence.
Sue Cobb
October 20, 2017
May the God of all comfort strengthen the family during this time of deep sorrow. Those who pass on, God keeps in his memory because they are precious in his eyes. My sincerest condolences. Psalms 116:15.
October 20, 2017
Weed, and the Family of Fred,
John and I send our love and prayers to you.
there is not a finer family than yours, May God embrace you at this difficult time.
Mary, Johnny Holliday
October 19, 2017
JOHN McManus (HC '70)
October 19, 2017
Fred McChesney: a first class scholar and an exquisite human being. I learned a great deal from Fred, but it's his warmth and humor that I will miss most. Rest peacefully, my gentle friend.
Thomas Hazlett
October 18, 2017
When I was a recent college graduate and deciding whether to go to grad school, Fred took the time to talk to me. We had never met and he had no idea who I was except for a brief introduction through a mutual friend. That conversation changed my life. But that's the kind of man he was--a hugely brilliant and influential scholar, but lacking the pretentiousness and ego of so many of that ilk. He was also the greatest storyteller I have ever met. Even when he was in ill health he was genuine, hilarious, and patient. He will be dearly missed.
Todd Zywicki
October 18, 2017
So sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Debbie Kestel
October 18, 2017
I wish to extend my most sincere condolences on the passing of Fred McChesney. My prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.
Thomas Wong
October 18, 2017
I'm so sorry to hear about Fred, an old friend from Good Counsel. He was a great person. My condolences.
Mark Traversa
October 18, 2017
I remember Fred from his days at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. You could already see then the fine man he was to become. Deepest condolences to his extended family.
David Hanlon
October 17, 2017
Many, many years since I last saw Fred. He was a high school friend. I attended the Good Counsel jr. prom with him, when his girlfriend wasn't able to go. Last time I saw Fred was at my wedding in 69. He was a really sweet guy.
Betsy Case Madero
October 17, 2017
Grant him peace Oh Lord. He was a true friend with a kind heart and a good soul.
October 17, 2017
Please accept my condolences on your loss. May the God of All Comfort all of you and give you peace.
October 17, 2017
My condolences for the loss of your loved one. Keeping in mind the scriptural hope of everlasting life can help to sustain you during this difficult time.-John 17:3.
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