Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wheat passes away

Leonard Wheat.jpgDr. Leonard F. Wheat (MA '54), economist and author, died May 12, 2014 from complications of Pulmonary Fibrosis. Born on November 13, 1931 in Sioux City, Iowa, he grew up mainly in Duluth, Minnesota. Wheat moved to the D.C. area in 1958 and lived in the Mount Vernon area since 1973. He was a strong advocate of separation of church and state and an opponent of government support (financial, legal, ritualistic, or school-oriented) of religious institutions, doctrines, beliefs and practices.

He graduated from Duluth Central High School in 1948 and received a BA from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1952, his MA in Public Administration from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 1954, and a PhD in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in 1958. After working briefly with the Minnesota Department of Taxation (1954-55), Wheat worked 42 years for the federal government. For the last 31 years he was a research economist with the Department of Commerce.

Wheat was the author of several intellectual books. Playing bridge was one of his favorite weekly activities. He had a vast day lily garden at his home and kept meticulous notes on them over the years. Hiking the Appalachian mountain trails was another favorite activity. Last year at the age of 81, Wheat completed hiking the last section of the 275 mile long Lake Superior Trail which parallels Lake Superior's north shore from Duluth to Canada. He was known to never turn down a piece of pie or a pineapple sundae.

Wheat is survived by two sisters and a brother in Duluth, Minnesota; a brother in Sioux City, Iowa and nine nieces and nephews.

There is no memorial service planned.

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