Daniel O’Haver Price died on November 18, 2012, in Jacksonville, FL at the age of 94. He was born in Palatka, FL, on September 12, 1918, the second son of Charles Henry and Lillian O’Haver Price. He graduated from Putnam High School in 1935 and then earned a BS from Florida Southern College in 1939. He taught high school science in Bartow, FL, before going to graduate school in 1940. He was awarded his MA in 1942 and PhD in 1948, both in sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Dan joined the UNC faculty shortly after receiving his doctoral degree and served from 1957–66 as the Director of the UNC Institute for Research in Social Science. He was a visiting professor at Harvard University in 1950 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957. During 1963–1964, he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
In 1966 he moved to The University of Texas-Austin. For four years in the mid-1970s he served as chair of the UT sociology department. In 1978, he moved to UNC-Greensboro, where he was department head for 10 years. He retired in 1988 and moved to Jacksonville, FL, where he married Marion Albinson Conner on June 5, 1988.
Early in his career, Dan was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. He was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a consultant to many government agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institutes of Health, the Social Security Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Economic Opportunity. He was President of the Southern Demographic Association, 1983–84.
During World War II, Dan was an electronics officer in the U.S. Navy, attached to PT Boat Squadron 17 in the Pacific, with service in Panama, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, New Guinea, and Mindoro. After the war, as a reservist, he taught courses in missile technology and consulted with the Naval Weapons Laboratory in Dahlgren, Virginia. He retired as a Captain from the Navy reserves in 1978.
As a social statistician and demographer, Dan authored/co-authored seven books and more than 50 articles in professional journals. His books include (with Margaret Hagood) Statistics for Sociologists (Holt 1952); The 99th Hour: The Population Crisis in the United States (UNC Press 1967); and Changing Characteristics of the Negro Population: A 1960 Census Monograph (U.S. Government Printing Office 1969).
In 1942 Dan published an article in Social Forces, titled “Factor Analysis in the Study of Metropolitan Centers,” which was the very first article published in the sociological literature using factor analysis. The first sentence of this article is: “The purpose of this article is to point out some of the possibilities for sociology of a comparatively new statistical technique, factor analysis, and give an example of its application.” Dan’s units of analysis were the 93 metro areas with populations in 1930 of 100,000 or more. Dan would sometimes tell us that he did the factor analysis and orthogonal rotation of the 15 characteristics of these 93 cities by hand, and that it took him more than two months to do. These days such a problem would run on Stata or some other statistical software in much less than one minute.
At a Memorial session held during the meetings of the Population Association of America (PAA) in New Orleans in April 2013, Dan was remembered by many of his students and colleagues. One of his doctoral students at UNC, Charles Nam, commented on Dan’s graciousness when Dan and he were candidates for the Presidency of the PAA. When Nam won the election, Dan noted how proud he was that now one of his students was the PAA President. Marta Tienda and Mark Fossett, two of Dan’s students at the University of Texas (UT), commented on Dan’s truthfulness and openness in all matters of teaching and research. Frank Bean, one of Dan’s UT colleagues, noted how supportive and accessible Dan was to the young sociology faculty at UT in the 1970s. Dudley Poston, also a colleague of Dan’s at UT in the 1970s, remarked about Dan’s mentoring and advising of junior faculty in the sociology department, at a time when there was little if any formal mentoring going on.
Other former colleagues have written to us about Dan and his contributions. A former UT colleague of Dan’s, Teresa Sullivan, now the President of the University of Virginia, noted that Dan preceded her by several years as Chair of the Department of Sociology at UT. Terry wrote us recently that “I later realized, in chairing the same department, how deft he had been in managing many dicey situations.”
William Markham, both a student of Dan’s at the University of Texas and a colleague of Dan’s at UNC-Greensboro, noted the enormous respect Dan enjoyed at UNCG. In the early ‘80s when UNCG was hiring a new Provost, Dan was not too impressed with the tentative choice. He wrote a letter of opposition to the Chancellor, and the Chancellor responded by walking down the street from his administrative suite to visit Dan in his utilitarian office in the sociology department to personally explain his reasons and to ask for Dan’s support. Dan was polite but unconvinced, and the hiring went ahead. Bill notes that the new Provost proved to be an absolute disaster.
Bill also noted his frequent reliance on Dan for statistical advice. As we all know, Dan was a superb teacher of statistics, but also unpretentious and humble. On one occasion, after masterfully helping unravel a difficult problem with which Bill had been struggling for days, Dan told Bill, “Just remember though; my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.”
Dan’s second wife, Marion Conner Price (1918–2010), was a leading Jacksonville actress and television pioneer. His first wife, Doris Price (1921–2012), was the mother of his three children: Philip Price, Karen Price, and Gary Price. Dan is survived by his brother Charles Price, his three children, five grandchildren, and countless students, friends, and colleagues.