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Millard W. Hastay ’41

A picture of Helen Wheeler Hastay and Millard Hastay

Helen Wheeler Hastay ’39 and Millard Hastay ’41 in Oregon in 2006 Nancy Stewart Green ’51

Millard W. Hastay ’41, March 28, 2014, in Forest Grove, Oregon. Millard was born in Montana, and, following the untimely death of his mother, he lived in Portland with his father and paternal grandparents. Summers, he worked on wheat ranches run by his Montana family. Money was tight, but Millard was offered a scholarship at Reed in return for working as a janitor in the library. Though he was interested in physics, and adept in mathematics, he was unable to pay for lab fees, and turned instead to the social sciences. (Having conversed often with his grandfather about the politics and economics of the time, he had confidence in pursuing a degree in this field.) After the fall semester of his junior year, Millard withdrew from Reed and got a job as a bridge carpenter on the Southern Pacific Railroad. That fall, he married Helen F. Wheeler ’39, whom he had met in the contemporary society class taught by Prof. George Noble [political science 1922–48]. Assisted by Prof. Blair Stewart [economics 1925–49] and his good friend Don Sutherland ’37, he then found work as a research assistant in the Oregon State Highway Department. He shared an apartment in Salem with Don while Helen lived off campus and continued her studies at Reed. They spent time together on weekends. After Helen got her degree in general literature at Reed, she began teaching English and PE in Halfway, Oregon, while Millard worked with Noble to earn his BA in political science.

Millard’s poor eyesight kept him from military service. Prof. Robert Terrill [economics 1937–44] and Prof. Victor Chittick [English 1921–48] supported his application for a Stanford fellowship in economics in 1941. Before long, he was teaching statistics to econ majors there. In 1944, he was invited to join the Statistical Research Group at Columbia University—a contract agency engaged in classified research related to the war effort. For 12 years, he worked as a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research in New York, and with Helen’s encouragement, he studied for a PhD in economics at Columbia. During this time he taught at the Baruch School of the City College of New York. In 1958, he joined the School of Economics and Business at Washington State College (University), where he taught until he retired as professor emeritus in 1981. He also was a fellow of the American Statistical Association. In retirement, the couple lived for a time on Case Inlet of Puget Sound, near Helen’s family—three of whom had attended Reed (Margaret ’26, George ’29, and Donald ’35). Dancing had been a major social activity for them from the time they were at Reed, and they continued to do square and round dancing into their 70s. They also traveled with family, including sons Laird and Drew. Helen died in 2009. Survivors include their sons and four granddaughters. “No college can train a student for his lifetime career,” Millard wrote. “All it can do is give him a foundation in knowledge and thought processes that will permit him to grow and adjust. Reed does that job very well.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2014

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