Jack Kyser, the former chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and an oft-quoted expert on the financial health of the Southland, died Monday at age 76.
Kyser retired from LAEDC over the summer, and was serving as a chief economic adviser for the Southern California Association of Governments.
``Today I share in the sadness of many as we learned of the passing of Jack Kyser,'' SCAG President Larry McCallon said. ``He was a consummate professional, remarkable scholar and a dear friend. Southern California has lost a true champion in Jack. His passion, integrity, knowledge and devotion to the study of economics have aided in the development of countless public and private sector contributions.
``Jack's unique ability to work across sectors and engage diverse groups of stakeholders will be admired and will surely be a part of his continued legacy,'' he said.
A Huntington Park native, Kyser earned his master's degree at USC. Prior to joining LAEDC in 1991, Kyser worked for Security Pacific National Bank, First Interstate Bank and Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Neb. He taught economics at the University of Nebraska and was a business commentator on radio station KVNO in Omaha.
Kyser also worked for eight years as an economist with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.
LAEDC President/CEO Bill Allen called Kyser a ``tireless champion of Los Angeles County.''
``He loved the county's varied communities, its diverse people and the boundless opportunities available here,'' Allen said. ``He was affectionately dubbed the `guru,' the `godfather' and the `voice of the Los Angeles economy' for his great depth of knowledge, insight and uncommon ability to articulate complex economic concepts and issues in simple and understandable terms.''
The economics department of the LAEDC was renamed in 2007 the Kyser Center for Economic Research.
George McQuade, a publicist who works for LAEDC and worked closely with Kyser, said Kyser had a knack for putting ``complicated economic language in layman's terms.''
Kyser was the ``go-to person on anything to do with the economy,'' McQuade said. ``He's going to be dearly missed.''