Noted Southland economist Jack Kyser, the former chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., has died at age 76.
Kyser was found dead at his home this afternoon. He had not shown up for work today at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). His longtime friend and colleague Wally Baker had grown concerned because he had not heard from Kyser since they attended a conference together last Thursday.
Baker told KPCC that he drove to Kyser's condo in Downey this afternoon, and found three New York Times newspapers outside. He called 911, and firefighters broke in to the condo, said Baker. They found Kyser dead in his bed, under the blankets.
“It seemed like he was sleeping,” said Baker. The coroner has not yet determined a cause of death.
Baker said that Kyser recently told him that he had gone to the doctor about a month and a half ago, and had gotten a clean bill of health.
Kyser retired from LAEDC this past summer, and was serving as a chief economic adviser for SCAG.
“Today I share in the sadness of many as we learned of the passing of Jack Kyser,” SCAG President Larry McCallon said.
“He was a consummate professional, remarkable scholar and a dear friend. Southern California has lost a true champion in Jack. His passion, integrity, knowledge and devotion to the study of economics have aided in the development of countless public and private sector contributions," he said.
A Huntington Park native, Kyser earned his master's degree at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining LAEDC in 1991, Kyser worked for Security Pacific National Bank, First Interstate Bank and Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Neb. He taught economics at the University of Nebraska and was a business commentator on radio station KVNO in Omaha.
Kyser also worked for eight years as an economist with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
George McQuade, a publicist who works for LAEDC and worked closely with Kyser, said Kyser had a knack for putting “complicated economic language in layman's terms.”