Published: May 22, 2011 12:06 AM
Modified: May 22, 2011 12:06 AM
James C. Ingram, professor of economics emeritus at UNC, died May 8, 2011 at the age of 89.
Ingram was born in Roanoke, Alabama, on January 11, 1922, and grew up in the small town of Lineville, Alabama. At the time he found the life there dull and boring, but in later years he had fond memories of the small-town life: freedom to explore the town and countryside, intimate knowledge of the people, leisure for games and reading. A major drawback was the scarcity of books, as the town had no public library. At the age of 16 he graduated from High School and enrolled in the University of Alabama. He was in his senior year at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. He immediately signed up for the U.S. Army, but graduated early in order to go on active duty. He served for four years, two in the European Theater. His service in England, France, and Germany gave him a life-long taste for foreign travel and a deeply rooted belief in the importance of social justice and human dignity.
When he was discharged in 1946 with the rank of Captain, Ingram began graduate studies at Stanford University, earning an M.A. (Economics) in May 1947. He then worked for two years in the research department of the Industrial Indemnity Company in San Francisco. During that period he met and married Alice Jane Graham. In 1949, despite promotions and a promising future in business, he and Alice decided they preferred the academic world. Ingram returned to graduate school, first at Stanford and then at Cornell University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Economics in August 1952. While at Cornell, he was awarded a research grant from the Social Science Research Council for study in Thailand. He and Alice spent an extremely enjoyable and interesting fifteen months in Bangkok from 1951-52, while he pursued research on the economic development of Thailand. With Alice’s support and help he was able to defend his completed dissertation on “Economic Change in Thailand Since 1850” when they returned to Cornell in August 1952. His dissertation was published by the Stanford University Press in 1955. This book has become a standard reference on the subject and translated into many languages. An updated edition was published in 1972, and translated into Thai in 2009, fifty-four years after its first publication.
Ingram joined the UNC faculty of economics in 1952, immediately after receiving his Ph.D. from Cornell, and he remained at UNC until his retirement. During his over 30 year tenure at UNC, he taught both graduate and undergraduate economics, served on a number of boards and committees, and authored numerous books and papers. He also served as Dean of the Graduate School, 1966-69 and as Managing Editor of the Southern Economic Journal, 1961-65.
He and Alice both enjoyed travel and while on leave at various times were able to travel extensively. Professor Ingram was a research fellow in Puerto Rico (resulting in his second book, “Regional Payments Mechanisms: the Case of Puerto Rico”); twice a visiting member of the London School of Economics (1963-64, 1977), a visiting professor at the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies (1964), a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution (1976), visiting professor at Thammasat University, Bangkok (1969-71), and at the Johns Hopkins Bologna Center for International Studies (1984 and 1986), and the Johns Hopkins Nanjing Center, China (1988).
Jim’s and Alice’s three daughters were born between 1953 and 1957. Jim was a founder of the Highland Woods neighborhood in Chapel Hill, where he and Alice built their home of 50 years. He loved being a father, playing games, solving homework problems, and supporting his three girls. The Ingram family has many treasured memories of living abroad in Puerto Rico, London, Salzburg, and Bangkok, as well as other family trips.
Throughout his adult life, Jim was deeply loyal to the University of North Carolina and devoted to his daughters and grandsons. He enjoyed long term relationships with a wide circle of friends and valued the new friendships he found at the Cedars, where he moved in 2006 after the death of his wife Alice. Jim's favorite hobbies were tennis, gardening, literature, and travel. He appreciated beauty in many forms including art and music. He had an insatiable appetite for news, world events, and politics and made a point of becoming well informed on subjects of importance to him. Jim blessed those around him with his understated sense of humor and gentle spirit.
Jim Ingram is survived by three loving daughters: Deborah and Susan, who both live in Chevy Chase Maryland, and Melissa, who lives with her husband Michael Grogan in Overland Park, Kansas; and his four grandsons, David Brown and his wife Charity Duran, Michael Brown, Carlton Klein, and Eric Klein.
Memorial service to held June 3, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., 100 Cedar Club Circle, Chapel Hill. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to, a charity of ones choice.
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