Alan Griffiths obituary

Other lives: Economist with a global outlook and a love of his native Wales

My friend Alan Griffiths, who has died aged 73 after a long illness, was an economist whose academic career took in Aberystwyth, Cambridge and Yokohama. He wrote many books and articles, most notably Applied Economics (with Stuart Wall), which ran to 13 editions and became a set text.

Alan was a Welshman and proud of his heritage. He was born in the erstwhile mining village of Pontyberem in Carmarthenshire to Bryn Griffiths, a carpenter, and his wife, Ivy (nee Hughes), a nurse. Ivy predeceased Alan by six months at the age of 94. Bryn was badly injured during the Normandy landings at the battle for Caen in the second world war. Alan wrote a book about his father’s wartime experience and another about his great-uncle, Rees Griffiths, an army medic who was killed in 1915, in the first world war.

Alan was educated at Gwendraeth grammar school, where he discovered his aptitude for economics and rugby: his scholarship was evident, as was his prowess as a wing-forward, or flanker. He went on to study economics at University College Swansea and the London School of Economics.

His academic career began in 1968 in the economics department of University College Aberystwyth, where he met his lifelong friend David Jones, and concluded as reader in economics at Anglia Ruskin University and visiting tutor at Selwyn and Downing Colleges at Cambridge University. He was also visiting professor in economics at Yokohama University in Japan. He taught there for a year and made a lasting impact on his colleagues as well as enhancing his reputation as an expert on Japanese business and economics. He had a fine collection of Japanese art, artefacts and kimonos.

Alan had an unending enthusiasm for people, life and ideas. His passion for Wales and for rugby never waned and he was at Cardiff Arms Park, and latterly the Millennium Stadium, for many international matches.

Never condescending, he had a warm heart and a gentle wisdom that seemed to come from another age. His quirky humour and perpetual sense of fun made him loved by children and adults alike. His prowess at DIY was legendary and he generously gave his time to family and friends.

He is survived by Sylvia, his wife of 47 years, their daughter, Anna, and granddaughter, Lily, and his brother Wayne.

Sue Wheeler

The GuardianTramp

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