In Memoriam: T. "Dudley" Wallace

Monday, April 27, 2020
Professor T. Dudley Wallace

T. “Dudley” Wallace, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, passed away on Saturday, April 18 at his home in Cape Carteret, North Carolina. He was 87 years old. 

 Wallace was born in rural Oklahoma, and obtained his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University at Stillwater. While in Oklahoma, he married to his childhood sweetheart, JoAnn. The couple had two children, Pam and Patricia. Wallace earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1963, studying under the tutelage of renowned economist Milton Friedman.

Wallace came to Duke in 1974, after spending 15 years at North Carolina State University in the Economics and Statistics department. His contributions to Duke Economics were immense. He was a mentor to many graduate students, and also served as chair and director of graduate studies.

Wallace’s research focused on human capital accumulation, linear restrictions in regression, time series data, multicollinearity and low-order moments in stable lag distribution, fertility and replacement, full-time schooling, and the mean square error criterion. He was published in many prestigious economics journals such as Econometrica, the Journal of the American Statistical Association, The Journal of Econometrics, Evaluation of Econometric Models, Demography, and the Journal of the Political Economy. He was also the author of the textbook “Econometrics: An Introduction”, which he co-authored with former graduate student J. Lew Silver. Before his retirement in 1995, Wallace served as a consultant to several organizations, including the World Bank. 

Colleagues remember Wallace fondly. “Professor Wallace was an internationally known econometrician, with widely cited work in economics and statistics on variance bias tradeoffs in prediction.  His research still has influence on model forecasting to this day,” said professor George Tauchen. “He would wryly encapsulate in his heavy southwestern drawl his insightful aphorisms on research and economics in general.”

Professor Edward Tower remembers Wallace as not only a colleague, but a friend. “Dudley was a playful poker player. We had a bunch of friendly games with a few colleagues. The last time I saw Dudley was when he invited me to his cottage for the weekend with him and JoAnn. We talked economics, and I caught a small mackerel casting from the shore.”

Longtime colleague Marjorie McElroy will remember Wallace as not only a wise mentor, but a friend. She recalls his “…gravel-dry jokes...[T]he best was when he picked up the chalk and went to the board to work on a problem.”

Wallace’s memory will endure not only with his family, but within Duke Economics.

Online condolences and memories can be submitted here. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the “T. Dudley and JoAnn Wallace Endowment Fund” at Duke University, Alumni and Development RecordsDuke University, Box 90581, Durham, NC 27708-0581. In support of Duke's initiative in social distancing against COVID-19, our campus and University offices are currently closed and unable to accept express or overnight deliveries.  All payments and communications should be mailed to PO Box 90581, Durham, NC 27708.​​​​​​​ Electronic gifts can be made directly to the “T. Dudley and JoAnn Wallace Endowment Fund” using this link