Michael H. Halbert, statistician, marketing expert

Michael H. Halbert
Michael H. Halbert
Posted: July 08, 2013

Michael H. Halbert, 87, of Bala Cynwyd, a specialist in marketing theory and statistics, died Monday, June 17, of prostate cancer at Saunders House in Wynnewood.

He graduated in 1943 from Central High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949. He did graduate work in psychology and statistics.

In 1943, he joined the Army Air Forces and served in World War II.

Mr. Halbert began his career as an operations research specialist with the advertising research section of the DuPont Co., working from an office in Wilmington.

He went on to become technical director of the Marketing Science Institute, formerly at 34th and Market Streets. It is now based in Cambridge, Mass.

At various times, he was president and chief executive of the Philadelphia Group, executive director of the nonprofit Institute for the Study of Inquiring Systems, and president of Research for Management within the Hay Group, a global management-consulting firm based in Philadelphia. He left Hay and did private consulting until retiring in his mid-70s.

He wrote numerous publications, including The Meaning and Sources of Marketing Theory, published in 1965 and used as a text in colleges and universities. With Wroe Alderson, he authored Men, Motives, and Markets. The work was published in 1968 by Prentice-Hall as part of a "foundations of marketing" series.

He also wrote many chapters for texts and reference books in the fields of marketing and statistics.

Early in his career, Mr. Halbert taught at Penn and Case Western Reserve University, where the latter's operations research program was just beginning. He guest-lectured at other universities and spoke at business conventions.

Mr. Halbert had a lively sense of humor, his family said, and was proud that a joke he told Isaac Asimov over dinner was included in one of the author's joke books. The family is searching for the book.

Mr. Halbert was a tinkerer who loved all things electronic. In his later years he was an active member of the New Horizons Senior Center in Narberth and participated in a writing group that met there.

He joined the Main Line Unitarian Church in 1965 and volunteered with the youth group.

His marriage to Nancy Sickles ended in divorce. He then married Florence Widowski.

In addition to his wife of 54 years, surviving are daughters Sally Leiderman, Janet Alvarez, and Linda Hart; stepchildren Douglas and Louise Lewis; 10 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. A daughter, Ellen Mastros, and a stepson died earlier.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at Main Line Unitarian Church, 816 S. Valley Forge Rd., Devon, Pa. 19333. Mr. Halbert donated his body to science.

Donations may be sent to the church.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8102 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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