James Patrick Gander

November 30, 1930 - October 12, 2021

James (Jim) Patrick Gander passed away peacefully at his longtime home in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 12, 2021, a few weeks short of what would have been his 91st birthday. An avid hiker and traveler for most of his life, Jim spent his last days surrounded by his family and many friends, keeping them entertained with stories of his latest economics paper, his travels around the world or the previous day’s football game.

Jim was born on November 30, 1930, in San Francisco, California to Edward and Agnes Donaldson Gander. He graduated from Sacred Heart High School as Student Body President and Captain of the varsity football team. Jim received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from St. Mary’s College of California in 1953 where he was Senior Class Secretary, and received his Master’s Degree (1959) and PhD (1966) in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

A consummate teacher and life-long learner, Jim served as a Professor of Economics at the University of Utah for over five decades, guiding thousands of students in statistical and mathematical economics, and was the chair of numerous students’ masters and doctorates. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, Jim had a productive research career resulting in publications in a wide variety of respected journals such as Econometrica, Metroeconomica, and Journal of Asian Economics. One of Jim’s notable contributions was assisting in establishing a faculty exchange program with Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, which became a second home for decades and a source of many friendships. He remained active professionally as Professor Emeritus, with a timely publication in the spring of 2020 on COVID-19 modeling prediction approaches and decision-making.

Jim displayed uncanny mechanical ability and “fix it” skills, often helping friends and family with home and auto repairs. He built a cabin, from the ground up, by himself, in the Silver Fork area of Big Cottonwood Canyon outside of Salt Lake City. He loved the area for its solace, raw beauty, and proximity to a local ski resort as well as a restaurant that served his favorite ribs and desserts, which he believed should be part of every meal. He also loved his perennial travels to the Moab Music Festival, San Clemente, CA and the East coast to visit family.

Jim served honorably in the United States Army where he was a member of the Counter Intelligence Corp during the Korean War while stationed in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. He was a parish council member of the Newman Center where he also served as co-chair of the Diocese Development Drive.

Jim is survived by his wife of 62 years Anita Moore Gander; sister Therese; children Mark, Barb (Steve Keyser) and Sue Gander (Todd Dorrien); and grandchildren Madde (Aidan Williams), Erin, Sara, Mia, Liam and Daniel (mother, Katya Frischer). Jim is preceded in death by his parents, John Gander (brother), Catherine Dunn (sister) and John Joseph Gander (baby).

A Celebration of Jim’s remarkable life will be on Friday, November 5, 2021 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, Utah. All are invited to come and share stories. A mass will be celebrated in his honor on November 6, 2021 at 10:00 am at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center, 170 S University St, Salt Lake City, Utah, with a graveside ceremony to follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, 4th Avenue T Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Celebration of Jim's life will be livestreamed. You may visit this page where a "watch now" button will appear moments before the service begins. 

The family requests in lieu of flowers to consider a donation to the National Park Foundation or Save our Canyons. The family thanks all the wonderful caregivers from the University of Utah Hospital and Community Nursing Services.

Family Gathering and Memories