Sidney Wertimer, professor of economics for 52 years and a mentor to generations of students, died on Feb. 1, 2005, in Charleston, S.C., with his family at his side. He was 84.
Passionate about teaching, Dr. Wertimer enjoyed a devoted following among alumni, including Fortune 500 business executives and financiers who continued to seek his advice well after their graduation. In 1989, in appreciation for his lifetime guidance, a contingent of his former students established the Sidney Wertimer Professorship, awarded to a member of the faculty who exemplifies his devotion to teaching and mentoring.
In addition to teaching finance, money and banking, and accounting, Dr. Wertimer served at various junctures of his career as economics department chairman, associate dean, provost and College marshal. Though he officially retired in 1991, he continued to teach basic accounting under special appointment and was responding to student e-mails from his hospital bed days before his death.
Since his undergraduate days at the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote, produced and starred in several fully staged theater productions, Sidney Wertimer exhibited a flair for the dramatic that translated to the classroom and later to his role as College marshal. For half a century he was a volunteer firefighter for the Village of Clinton and kept a department radio crackling in his kitchen 24 hours a day.
Born in Buffalo on Oct. 28, 1920, Sidney Wertimer modestly aspired to be "the biggest life insurance salesman" in the city, a goal he was fated never to achieve. Shortly after graduating in 1942 from the Wharton School at Penn, he reported for active duty as an ensign aboard the Navy destroyer William D. Porter. He saw action in the invasion of Luzon in the Philippines and the bombardment of the Japanese home islands. A supply officer, he commanded an anti-aircraft gun in the Battle of Lingayen Gulf against heavy kamikaze attack.
Released from the Navy as a lieutenant, Wertimer returned to the University of Buffalo to obtain an M.A. degree in economics and from there abroad to study at the London School of Economics from which he earned a Ph.D. in 1952. Via transatlantic telephone, he was offered an assistant professorship at Hamilton, where he remained a conspicuous and highly energetic presence for the next five decades. He is the author of Economics and Man, a college textbook used nationally.
Professor Wertimer is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Eleanor M. Walsh, a lawyer and retired executive director of Family Services of Greater Utica, as well as a former justice for the Town of Kirkland; a brother, Edward C. (Ned); four children, Peter, Sheila, Stephen and Thomas; and 10 grandchildren.