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Larry Edward Westphal

Larry Edward Westphal



MISSOULA — Larry Edward Westphal, 78, died Nov. 11, 2020, at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula of pneumonia combined with longtime, debilitating conditions. His wife and his elder daughter were able to be at his side.

Larry was the only child of Madelene Barker and Edward Arthur Westphal, MD. With his wife of 56 years, MyrtleAnn Clark Westphal, he had two daughters, Michelle Thornblade (Carl and grandsons Elliot and Ian) and Meredith Alexander (Paul Martin). His great sorrow was when Meredith suddenly died at age 42 of an aneurysm. He also is survived by in-laws Vicky Clark and Charles Clark (Lynda). He was a wonderful, loving, stimulating and ethical husband, father, grandpa, friend, and mentor to many, and he will be greatly missed. 

Born and raised in California, Larry has lived in Lima, Peru, Glendale, California, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Princeton, New Jersey, Seoul, South Korea, Evanston, Illinois, Alexandria, Virginia, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Bangkok, Thailand, and Maastricht, The Netherlands. He retired to Missoula with Myrt to be near to Michelle’s family. 

An outstanding undergraduate scholar at Occidental College (1964), his doctorate was earned at Harvard in 1969. He taught at Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern and for 25 years at Swarthmore College as the J. Archer & Helen C. Turner Processor of Economics. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a research division chief at the World Bank, the youngest so appointed. In 2000, Larry was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  

During various leaves and sabbaticals, he advised the Republic of Korea on the creation of their Third Five Year Plan of Economic Development under the auspices of USAID; was a consultant to Thailand’s Development Research Institute’s Science and Technology Program under the auspices of Harvard’s Institute for International Development; and was the principal research fellow at the UN’s University Institute for New Technology in the Netherlands. 

He was a consultant to the UN Industrial Development Organization, co-writing and co-editing its first Industrial Development Report, and to a group of Chinese educators concerning the teaching of economic development, visiting China just as it opened to the west. He advised the governments of Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia on industrial policy and planning and technological development. His seminal publications on a new way of understanding technological development and the economies of Asia still continue to be frequently referenced. 

In mid-life his personal passion was scuba diving, something he enjoyed with his daughters, close friends and students. As a certified instructor he guided many newcomers to the sport. He also traveled widely, mostly with family, all over the world to dive sites, historic locations, and beaches in the U.S. and Caribbean. England was a favorite stop, especially when Meredith lived there.

Due to COVID there will be no current gathering. His family will scatter his ashes in his adopted home, Montana, when there is warm sunshine. Gifts may be directed to Swarthmore College to the scholarship in his name or to the Ocean Conservancy, a lifelong interest. Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home. 

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