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This is a post I wish I didn’t have to write. But I’ve just been informed that our friend and colleague, William W. Wade, Ph.D., died earlier this week.

I know many of you, like me, have known Bill for a long time. He was an economist, and not a lawyer, but he spoke our language (often in more clear terms than we do). A frequent speaker (that’s Bill above, speaking recently to the ALI-CLE Eminent Domain Conference in Nashville in January), thinker, author (here’s a recent guest post by Bill), and expert witness in takings cases, Bill knew his stuff.

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But to me, Bill was more than just a colleague and frequent correspondent, but also a friend and kindred spirit. Of course I treasured our conversations about our work in the law and economics, but more importantly, he always struck me as a kind soul. For example, we had a chance to spend some time together in Nashville. I mentioned seeing a bald eagle while in Tennessee (a rare sight, in my eyes), and he mentioned that he would soon be traveling to a nearby lake to eagle-watch. I asked him to “send me picture.” I assumed I was asking, you know, if he would please take a photo of an eagle with his cell phone camera if he had the chance, and email it to me. Soon, however, the postal service delivered an actual print of an eagle that he had purchased during his trip. I was surprised and touched.

Since its arrival just a few months ago, that photo has had a treasured place in my home office (I thought the eagle actually looked a little like Bill, and wondered if he chose the print for that reason). Having now spent many hours in the home office during the lockdown, I love that photo even more. It will remind me of Bill for the rest of my own life.

Of course I respected his work. Even though we had vastly different professional training, he “got” what we do, and I consider him a mentor. With his keen knowledge and fellowship, he earned his way into our little guild. The news of his passing will bring a lot of sadness to the community of which he was such an important part. I have no doubt that you who knew him will be as saddened by this terrible news as much as me.

Aloha, and bless you Bill Wade.