Jack I. Stone, economist who assisted efforts to rebuild Europe after World War II, dies

Jack I. Stone, a retired economist who worked on the Marshall Plan in Berlin to rebuild Europe after World War II, died of cardiovascular disease complications Nov. 1 at Assisted Living Well in Millersville. He was 98.

Born in St. Cloud, Minn., he was the son of Jonah Stone and his wife, Anna Teumim, who were Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. His father owned a dry goods store.

“My father’s early years coincided with the Great Depression, which helped fuel his interest in economic issues,” said Daniel Walter Stone, his son. “His family was forced by economic necessity to move first to Seattle, where he spent most of his formative years, and then to Kansas City.”

Mr. Stone obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago. At the university, “he decided that most political issues were grounded in economic challenges,” said his son, who lives in Dubai.

Mr. Stone joined the effort to rebuild Europe after World War II. He was a civilian employee of the U.S. military government in Berlin and Bonn, Germany, and was an economist and statistician for the High Commission and Marshall Plan Agency. He worked overseas until 1954 and witnessed the Berlin Airlift, when the U.S. supplied food, water and medicine to Berlin by air when the Russians blockaded sections of the city.

“He flew on the airlift planes, and the experience was traumatic,” his son said. “He took boats for a while after that.”

During that time, “there were frequent power outages and he learned to read by candlelight reflected by aluminum foil. He said the main currency was cigarettes,” his son said.

“The experience gave him an early insight into practical challenges in economics,” his son said. “It was an interesting time for him — a Jew in Germany after the war. He spoke of people who came up and apologized to him for the treatment of Jews in the country. But he spent most of his time figuring how to get Germany back on its feet.

“My father was a practical person who was a big believer in second chances,” he said.

Mr. Stone returned to the U.S. in 1954 and received a master’s degree at the Graduate School of Public Administration at Harvard University as a Littauer Fellow. He also studied in Harvard’s Department of Economics.

While at school he met his future wife, Jane Livermore, then a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. They married in 1965.

From 1959 to 1961, Mr. Stone worked in Puerto Rico for Fomento Economico, the economic development administration. He led studies of U.S. investor interest in manufacturing.

He next taught economics at the University of Minnesota and worked on a Ford Foundation study of regional growth. After that he moved to Washington in 1963 and joined the State Department as a senior economist at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

He later held posts in Paris for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and helped negotiate an agreement on Indonesian debt rescheduling.

Mr. Stone became head of research for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva. He studied the needs of the least developed and developing island countries. He became a specialist in addressing the needs of poor countries, his son said.

After his first retirement he moved to Timonium, where he lived until settling in Millersville in 1988.

“You could not say he retired,” his son said. “He was an economic consultant who worked out of his house.”

Mr. Stone continued to work until he was 95, and presented a paper at the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries in Kazakhstan in 2003. He was also a participant at the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, held in Geneva.

He was a patron of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, where he conducted research and spent time. He also enjoyed the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and followed baseball. He enjoyed French foods and often dined at Les Folies Brasserie in Annapolis.

He belonged to the American Economic Association, the National Economists Club, the American Foreign Service Association, the Harvard Club and the National Press Club.

“My father was a lifelong learner, often able to bond with people of varied interests with detailed knowledge of their fields,” his son said.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Hardesty Funeral Home-Annapolis,12 Ridgely Ave.

In addition to his son, survivors include two grandsons, Jacob Rafael Stone and Cody Juan Stone, both of Dubai. His wife of 35 years, a sociologist who worked on aging issues, died in 2000.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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