OBIT: Professor Chuck Laine

July 27, 2021

Charles "Chuck" LaineFormer Whittier College Professor of Economics and Business Administration Charles Russell "Chuck" Laine passed away on July 8. 

Laine was born in Butte, Montana, in 1944. He grew up in Walnut Creek, California, and graduated from Las Lomas High School. After working as an operations officer for First Western Bank in the Bay Area and the Central Valley, he discovered an aptitude and interest in economics. In 1971 Laine decided to pursue a degree in economics and enrolled in a calculus class at Modesto Junior College, where he met his future wife, Donna. He received his bachelor's degree in economics from California State University, Stanislaus, and in 1972, began graduate studies at the University of California, Davis, eventually earning his Ph.D.
Laine joined the Whittier College faculty in 1976 and taught here for over thirty-five years, teaching economics and finance. He most recently served as the John A. Murdy Chair in Business Administration. An avid runner, he was an assistant coach for the Poet men’s and women’s cross-country teams for over thirty years.

"Chuck and I coached together for 28 of his estimated 33 official years as a coach," said Head Cross Country Coach Greg Phillips, recalling Laine's devotion to the team. "Chuck also published an article in a popular running journal about our amazing 1994 women's team performance at the National Championships. It was reported Whittier was the smallest enrollment college to ever make a cross country National Championships (in 1994) and Chuck was a huge part of helping that happen, not to mention a repeat performance in 2010."  

Laine loved teaching and being an encouragement to his students. According to family and friends, he was an unfailingly kind, funny, intelligent, and wise person and will be deeply missed. 

Laine is survived by his wife Donna, sons Matt (Sarah) and David (Leslie), and grandsons Jonathan and Zachary. His full obituary has been posted on the Rose Hills site. Former colleagues and students are invited to leave a comment about Laine on the obituary site.

Funeral arrangements are private. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be sent to Whittier College Athletics (Cross Country) or East Whittier Friends Church.