Harold Wolozin

1920 ∼ 2019

Harold Wolozin

Harold Wolozin, a resident of Aquinnah and Oak Bluffs died on Nov. 27, 2019. He was 99 years old.

Harold was born July 7, 1920 in Milford to Morris and Elizabeth Wolozin. He grew up in Gloucester. As a boy he worked in his father’s shoe store, was editor-in-chief of his school newspaper, and developed a love of the clarinet, having played it in Gloucester’s marching band. He earned a B.S. from Tufts University (1942) and a PhD in Economics from Columbia University (1955).

Harold was a dynamic, can-do presence wherever he ventured. Throughout his life he gardened and became an expert (if not commanding) sailor and competed in races. His clarinet teacher in Cambridge, where he was a member of a chamber orchestra, remembers the sweet tone of his playing. He was a devoted student of Iyengar Yoga, practicing it under a protege of the master in Boston into his 90’s.

He became a gourmet cook after purchasing his first cookbook, The Cordon Bleu Cookbook (1947), while stationed briefly at the Air Force Base in Colorado. He was ultimately honorably discharged because of his eyesight, but was tasked with being an Air Force historian. As a young corporate economist for the Hecht Company, he designed a revolving budget to solve the company’s failing credit operation, analyzed in his article, Innovations in Granting of Installment Sales Credit. Today’s version of the revolving budget is called the credit card.

As a federal government and corporate economist, and professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus from its founding (1966), he focused on problems of the everyday human condition, challenging policy and theory on the environment, aging and retirement, and the role of emotions in economic decision-making. He was deeply critical of the strict monetarist approach taken by most mainstream economists.

His insistence on ‘economic man’ as not solely rational and conscious came from his profound interest in psychoanalysis and was way ahead of its time in economics and brain science. His experience working on cost of living, productivity and inflation led to his critique on how policy outcomes often ignore hidden impacts on our personal lives.

His publications included The Economics Of Pollution (1966), The Economics of Air Pollution (1970), and Energy and the Environment (1974). He was invited to a dinner at the White House with President Lyndon Johnson following the publication of Energy and the Environment but declined in protest of the Vietnam War.

He assimilated findings of developmental psychology that debunked the generalization that aging is a time of cognitive decline. Following his own advice, he objected to and protested against his own “forced” retirement from the University of Massachusetts. The state of Massachusetts capitulated and moved the retirement age for all its state faculty up to age 72. Then when he hit 72, he challenged the state again, leading to the ultimate removal of a retirement age for faculty. Professor Wolozin retired from the University of Massachusetts, Boston at age 84.

In his later years, subjected to a diagnosis of progressive cardiac disease, he remained optimistic, regaining his strength with workouts at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA until age 95, and with physical therapy.

One week before he died he was spotted avidly reading The Sixth Man: A Memoir by Andre Iguodala. He kept up his study and writing on psychoanalysis and the unconscious, often quoting Jonathan Lear on love and re-reading Freud. His cardiologist at MGH, Dr. G. William Dec, wrote “[Harold] had a tremendous spirit and will to live. He survived far longer than anyone I have ever cared for with cardiac amyloidosis.”

Perhaps it was that fresh orange juice he squeezed every morning.

Harold is survived by his loving wife, Loretta (Blank) Wolozin, married 39 years; a son Ben; daughters Debbie, Diana (DL), and Sarah; his brother Robert Wolozin; and five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His former wife, Ruth Leah (Schwartz) Wolozin, predeceased him in 1978.

Harold brought his philosophy into his everyday life and will be remembered for his smile, indefatigable energy, convictions, resilience and his favorite saying: “Life is full of mystery.”

Harold Wolozin

1920 ∼ 2019

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