Melvin Rothbaum

Melvin Rothbaum passed away on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at The Wyatt House on Bainbridge Island at the age of 91.

He was born on Jan. 5, 1926 in the Bronx, New York City and lived most of his life in Urbana, Illinois.

Mel served in the Army on Iwo Jima during World War II. He received a doctorate’s degree from Harvard in 1949. Mel worked as a professor of economics at University of California Los Angeles, was the director of the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois, and was on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisors to Lyndon Johnson.

Mel was a kind, gentle, loving man, friendly to all. He was devoted to his wife of 68 years, Janice.

He loved the arts: theater, opera, classical and jazz concerts as well as the visual arts. He and Janice were world travelers visiting Europe, Asia and Australia.

Back in his hometown of Urbana, Illinois, Mel and Janice had a strong group of friends with whom they would socialize frequently. He was well respected as a scholar and professor in the field of economics and industrial relations, was a strong supporter of organized labor and progressive politics, and gave generously to charities and causes he believed in. He was able to spend the last years of his life on Bainbridge Island with his children and grandchildren and made new, important friendships with his fellow residents at the Wyatt House.

Melvin is survived by his children Jeremy Rothbaum (Leslie) of Bainbridge Island, and Susan Rothbaum (Kathie Bailey) of St. Paul, Minnesota. He also leaves behind his grandchildren Nick Rothbaum and Liberty Mighell (Felix) of Seattle.

He was preceded in death by his wife Janice Rothbaum.

Sign the online guest book for the family at Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home.