Almarin Phillips, 81, professor

Posted: September 01, 2006

Almarin Phillips, 81, of Wynnewood, professor emeritus of public policy, economics and law at the University of Pennsylvania and a decorated World War II veteran, died of pancreatic cancer Saturday at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Dr. Phillips joined the Penn faculty in 1963. He taught economic courses at the Wharton School and antitrust courses at the Law School, was dean of the former School of Public and Urban Policy in the 1970s, and later chaired the faculty Senate. He was the author, coauthor or editor of eight books and numerous articles. After retiring from Penn in 1991, he was chairman of the board of Econsult Corp., a Philadelphia economic-consulting firm, for five years and continued as an academic affiliate of the firm.

FOR THE RECORD - CLEARING THE RECORD, PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2, 2006, FOLLOWS: An obituary for Almarin Phillips, which appeared in yesterday's Inquirer, contained incorrect information. A corrected obituary appears on Page B6.

Dr. Phillips was one of the world's premier experts on industrial economics and the economics of regulation, said Econsult president David L. Crawford, a former colleague at Penn.

For more than 50 years, Dr. Phillips consulted on major antitrust issues. His highest-profile case, Crawford said, involved AT&T and the Justice Department. In a 1982 settlement, AT&T agreed to divest itself of its local telephone operations. Representing AT&T, Dr. Phillips argued that the breakup would create highly efficient service.

He was right, Crawford said, and 25 years later phone companies are consolidating.

Dr. Phillips grew up in Port Jervis, N.Y., where his father was mayor and owned a hardware-distribution company. During World War II, he served with the Army's 84th Infantry Division in the Netherlands and Germany.

In November 1944, enemy fire wounded his left arm. A captured German medic stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet, but the arm had to be amputated. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

After recuperating for a year in a military hospital in Atlantic City, Dr. Phillips planned to work for his father in Port Jervis. His mother encouraged him to go to college instead. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in economics from Penn and a doctorate from Harvard University. For seven years, he taught at the University of Virginia before returning to Penn.

Dr. Phillips had two children with his first wife, Dorothy Phillips. The couple divorced, and for 19 years he was married to Carole Phillips. After she died of Alzheimer's disease in 2005, he married Anita Behrle, a family friend for 37 years.

He had restored several antique cars and enjoyed puttering around the house, his wife said.

"He could do more with one arm than I could with two," she said, and at 81, he was still getting up on the ladder to fix gutters. He loved traveling and knew all of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor conductors.

He was a member of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and served on the Foundation Board of Philadelphia Community College. He wanted to help students who were struggling to get an education, his wife said, and was a generous, gentle man.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Phillips is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth; stepsons Andrew Greenberg, Benjamin Behrle and Joshua Behrle; a stepdaughter, Elizabeth Sanchez; nine grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and his former wife Dorothy. His son A. Paul died in April.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Merion Tribute House, 625 Hazelhurst Ave., Merion Station.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or

comments powered by Disqus