Cover photo for Robert Haveman's Obituary
Robert Haveman Profile Photo
1936 Robert 2022

Robert Haveman

July 22, 1936 — June 18, 2022

Bob's Celebration of Life Gathering is now being held in the afternoon of September 24, 2022 at the UW-Madison, Alumni Lounge, Pyle Center.

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Robert H. Haveman (Bob), 85. He died surrounded by his loving family in Madison, Wisconsin on June 18, 2022. Bob loved his large family, which he and his beloved wife of 39 years, Barbara (Bobbi) Wolfe, created. And he loved his furry companion Max, who was always by his side up until the end. Bob was endlessly curious and enjoyed asking questions (straightforward and sometimes embarrassing) and learning about others. He had a great sense of humor and a beautiful voice, whether singing, especially his favorite Leonard Cohen song, ‘Hallelujah’, teaching his many students, or presenting in front of numerous and varied groups. He had a deep love of animals and throughout his life he always had at least one dog, including a wedding present from his kids, the most adorable and beloved dog in our families’ history, properly named Nuppy.  Many family members and friends relied on Bob for his sound advice on life’s toughest challenges. He was a brilliant man who had the common man’s touch.

Bob traveled far in his life, symbolically and physically. He was born on July 22, 1936 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Jeanne and Henry Haveman. Bob was a first-generation college student attending Calvin College, where he received a BA in Economics. He went on to get a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University in Economics in 1963.  Bob started his career as an Assistant Professor at Grinnell College, a place he loved, then served as Senior Economist, Subcommittee on Economy in Government, Joint Economic Committee, U.S. Congress and then in 1970 joined the faculty at University of Wisconsin, where he finished his career, along the way serving as director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, The LaFollette School of Public Affairs, and chair of the Economics Department.

Bob was also an award-winning teacher who published widely in public finance, the economics of environmental and natural resources policy, benefit-cost analysis, and the economics of poverty, inequality and social policy. Robert was a Fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation in 1991-92, Research Associate at Resources for the Future in 1964-65 and 1969-1970, Fulbright Siena Professor in 2003, and Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in 1975–76, 1996–97, and 2007. He has also held the Jan Tinbergen Professorship at Erasmus University, Netherlands. He was co-editor of the American Economic Review, and served as a visiting research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra and at Melbourne University. He was past president of the International Institute of Public Finance, an organization to which he devoted considerable time and whose meetings afforded opportunities to engage with an international community of scholars. In 1996, Bob was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Umea University in Sweden. Just this spring, Bob was named an Honored Colleague in the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis.

Bob had many passions over the years, including cross country skiing and biking - both of which he sometimes did to work, running, swimming, playing tennis, more recently golf, and spending time out on the waters of Lake Mendota. Lake Mendota has been a playground for Bob and his family for nearly 50 years. Such play included sailing, motoring on the lake, sometimes to the Union Terrace for lunch, but especially for dinner on the boat with his wife Bobbi, the family dogs, and sometimes other lucky guests. He was a passionate Badger fan. He loved travel and his passport proved he was always up for an adventure, though not the long hours his wife would choose to spend in museums. He preferred sitting in cafes or restaurants observing locals and enjoying foods from around the world.

Robert is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Bobbi Wolfe; children Beth Haveman (Bob Sentz), Jon Haveman, Andrea Haveman (Victor Semper), Jennifer Wolfe (Nolan Zail), and Ari Wolfe (Gada); grandchildren Tyler, Dani, Ari, Dahlia, Marli, Sam, Harley, Alexa, Layla, and Jordan.

The family has established a scholarship fund in Bob’s name to support graduate students at The Lafollette School of Public Affairs, where he served as its first Director. To donate to this fund in Bob’s memory, please either click here or send a check to UW Foundation, U.S. Bank Lockbox 78807 Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807. Please designate the La Follette School and write in Bob’s name as the person in whose memory you are donating.

Bob's Celebration of Life Gathering is now being held in the afternoon of September 24, 2022 at the UW-Madison, Alumni Lounge, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706.

Please share your memories here on Bob's tribute wall.

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Haveman, please visit our flower store.


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