July 10, 1916–April 13, 2003
BY VERNON W. RUTTAN, JAMES J. HECKMAN, AND G. EDWARD SCHUH
D. GALE JOHNSON was a scholar of exceptional breadth who made original and important contributions to economics and to public policy. In his early work he contributed to our knowledge of the sources of instability in national and international commodity markets. In his later work he addressed the sources and consequences of the failure of socialized agriculture in the former Soviet Union and in China.
Gale was born on July 10, 1916. His parents, Albert and Myra, operated a farm near Vinton, Iowa. He attended grade school at a one-room country school near his parents’ farm and high school in the town of Vinton. His family experienced the effects of the instability in agricultural prices and income that characterized the post-World War I era: the boom of the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Gale received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State College in 1938. He married Helen Wallace on August 10, 1938. They had two children, David Wallace and Kay Ann. He received an M.S degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1939 and a Ph.D. degree from Iowa State College in 1945. His graduate study also included two years at the University of Chicago in 1939-1941.