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James Carman, UC Berkeley business professor emeritus and marketing expert, dies

– James M. Carman, a professor emeritus of business administration at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business and a pioneer in economics and the marketing of health care systems, died on Thursday, Dec. 9, at his home in Kensington. He was 73 and had been diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Carman served as a professor at the Haas School from 1962 to 1992. He also twice served as associate dean there and was acting dean in 1983. Carman was director of a new graduate program for four years after its establishment in 1991 that allowed students to simultaneously major in business administration and public health.

James Carman
James Carman
Carman's research focused on services management and marketing, distribution channels and health care delivery systems, customer satisfaction and quality management, public policy and strategic alliances, and the transition difficulties facing central European economies.

He contributed to 25 books and authored "Marketing: Principles and Methods" in 1973. Carman also was the author or co-author of more than 60 articles in professional journals, writing about the Southern Pacific Railroad's survival strategy in the early '90s, reasons for the failure of behavioral modification campaigns such as seat belt use, energy conservation, and adolescent drinking and driving. He also wrote about public regulation of marketing, diminishing returns for advertising, computers in banking and marketing, hospital-based health care cooperatives, the design of consumer research panels, and why retailers should focus their advertising on new arrivals to their communities.

Carman was awarded the Charles C. Slater Memorial Prize by the Journal of Macromarketing in 2002 for an article he co-authored about organizational transformations in economies in transition, and won the prize in 1997 for an article he co-wrote about public regulation of marketing.

He received a Fulbright-Hays grant in 1983 and spent seven months doing comparative research about distribution systems in Norway. After that, he worked in the Department of Business Administration at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, and returned to UC Berkeley in fall 1984.

"He was insightful, helpful, dependable and very bright," said Louis P. Bucklin, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus who worked closely with Carman over the years. Their joint projects included a consumer shopping study conducted with Safeway, conducting a doctoral consortium for students in marketing, and editing books of marketing literature.

Carman was a member of the American Marketing Association, American Statistical Association, the Institute of Management Science, and Sigma Iota Epsilon.

He earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering at Purdue University in 1953. He served in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955. Carman then earned his master's degree in business administration at Indiana University in 1956, and his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1963. At the University of Michigan, he studied marketing, statistics, management science and economic theory.

Carman served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955. From 1953-1959 he worked for the General Tire and Rubber Co. and from 1958-1959 for a division of that company, where he started in an internal management consulting group, advancing to assistant to the vice president.

Carman was a teaching fellow and instructor at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, from 1959-1962 before joining the UC Berkeley faculty.

He served as the first director of the now-defunct Consumer Research Institute in New Jersey from 1968-1970.

Survivors include his wife, Carol, of Kensington; daughters, Barbara Peschiera of Portland, Ore, and Kathryn Fulton of Wheat Ridge, Colo.; son, Paul Carman of Richmond, Calif.; and four grandchildren.

"He had high standards, but he also let us find our way without judging us," said Peschiera. "And he was always there when we eventually found our way. He was a man of few words, but he had a lot of authenticity and honesty."

Peschiera recalled that her father enjoyed adventure travel in Europe, Turkey, Australia, South America, Australia and Africa. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2000 and embarked on a cross-country skiing trip in Colorado last winter, she said, and was a frequent participant in an annual 14-mile cross-country skiing marathon in the Sierra. Carman also was active in the Oregon-California Trails Association and was fascinated by the experience of the West's early settlers, Peschiera said.

Carman enjoyed the symphony and plays, and took up recreational reading when he retired in 1995, she said.

Just five days before his death, Carman appeared before the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to present a draft ordinance that he had worked on for years on behalf of the Kensington Municipal Advisory Council. The measure, which incorporates the value of a view into the development approval process, won board approval with a 6-0 vote, Peschiera said.

Carman served as a trustee of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and as its vice chair from 1980-1989. He was on the Canterbury Foundation board from 1997-1999. At the time of his death, he was on the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center board of directors and was chair of the Kensington Municipal Advisory Council.

He also served several years recently on the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) Store Operations Board, which oversees the Cal Student Stores, the Student Union, Anthony and Eshleman halls' building operations, the Bearcade Recreation Center, the ASUC Art Studio, and other income-producing activities.

Funeral services are set for 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 18, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave., in Albany. Donations may be made to the Sutter Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice, 1900 Powell St., Suite 300, Emeryville, Calif., 94608, or the Berkeley Canterbury Foundation, 2334 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, Calif., 94704.