Sunday, 12 April 2009 00:00

Dr. William H Miernyk died at age 90

The RSAi is saddened to hear of the death of Bill Miernyk one of our founder members. A full obituary has been posted. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Dr. William H. Miernyk

miernyk williamDr. William H. Miernyk, of Morgantown, died on August 7, 2008, at age 90. He was born on January 4, 1918, in Durango, Colo., to Elizabeth Sopko and Andrew Miernyk. Dr. Miernyk was a scholar who had a great love for research, teaching and writing, and for his family.

He and Mary Davis met growing up in Durango, where they married during World War II. He served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army and was stationed in the South Pacific Theater throughout the war. After the war, William and Mary, and their growing family lived in Colorado and Massachusetts, arriving in Morgantown in 1964. They lived for many years on Price Street before moving to the Village at Heritage Point. They were married 63 years, and sadly, Mary preceded him in death in 2005.

Dr. Miernyk attended Ft. Lewis College in Durango, and then earned bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Colorado University, followed by master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard University. Dr. Miernyk was on the faculty at Northeastern University, Colorado University and WVU, and was a visiting professor at MIT, Harvard and the University of Edinburgh.

At WVU, Dr. Miernyk founded the Regional Research Institute, where he served as director from 1965 until his retirement in 1983. He was the recipient of many honors and awards. In 1989, he was inducted into the Order of the Vandalia. In 2005, the first "William H. Miernyk Research Excellence Medal" was presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Regional Science Association. His titles at WVU were Claude Worthington Benedum Professor of Economics, Professor Emeritus, and Director Emeritus of the RRI.

Known for his critical insight and expertise, Dr. Miernyk served as a consultant for U.S. Senate committees, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and The World Bank, among many others. Dr. Miernyk authored and co-authored over 40 books, 144 monographs, articles and reviews, and wrote a weekly newspaper column on economic issues for The Charleston Gazette.

As a young man, Dr. Miernyk loved sports, and was a boxer, gymnast, and football player at Durango High School, Ft. Lewis College and Colorado University. He was a longtime fan of WVU football. He also loved to fly, and for many years, had a small plane, which he flew over the Morgantown area for the sheer joy of it.

He will be remembered by his children, Jan Miernyk of Columbia, MO, Judith Miernyk of Washington, DC, Jeanne Miernyk of San Francisco, CA, and James Miernyk of Olympia, WA; granddaughter, Briana Lomax of Tampa, FL; and sister, Irene Miernyk of Los Angeles, CA; two nephews, Bill Miernyk of Anchorage, AK, and Dick Miernyk of Las, Cruces, NM. In addition to his wife Mary, his brothers, John and Andrew, preceded him in death.

A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 16, at St. John's University Parish in Morgantown. The family will greet friends from 9 a.m. until the time of the service at 10 a.m. Inurnment will follow at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made to Christian Help Inc., 219 Walnut St., Morgantown, WV 26505.

Hastings Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Send condolences online at

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The Regional Science Association International (RSAI), founded in 1954, is an international community of scholars interested in the regional impacts of national or global processes of economic and social change.

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