Gardiner C. Means, 91, a path-breaking economist and author who was widely regarded as the father of the theory of administered prices, died Feb. 15 at his home in Vienna of complications from a stroke suffered six months ago.
Dr. Means was the author with Adolph A. Berle of "The Modern Corporation and Private Property," a seminal study of the behavior of major U.S. corporations that influenced much of the economic thinking of the New Deal.
He came to Washington with the New Deal as economics adviser to former secretary of agriculture Henry A. Wallace. He later served on the consumer advisory board of the National Recovery Administration, worked in the Bureau of the Budget and directed the industrial section of the National Resources Planning Board.
In 1943, Dr. Means left the government to work for the Committee for Economic Development, a Washington-based business organization. Since 1958 he had been an independent economics consultant, analyst and author specializing in the study of how the corporate economy functions.
He first published his theories on administered prices during the 1930s, and they gained wide circulation in the 1950s and 1960s when he testified frequently before congressional committees on various aspects of the economy.
According to Dr. Means, certain corporate giants in industries such as oil, steel and automobile manufacturing and some labor unions have wide discretion over prices they set on their products and their members' labor. They are able to set and hold -- or "administer" -- prices without regard to fluctuations in demand. He observed that profit levels were maintained simply by decreasing production and thereby reducing costs when demand fell.
He often cited the steel industry as an example of this, and contended that in 1956-57 steel prices rose six times as much as labor costs. He argued that rising steel prices were the source of most of the price inflation of the 1950s, and wrote about this in one of his major books, "Pricing Power and the Public Interest: A Study in Steel."
Dr. Means' theories figured in President John F. Kennedy's celebrated 1962 confrontation with U.S. Steel Chairman Roger Blough over a proposed increase in steel prices. Under White House pressure, Blough rescinded the increases.
Dr. Means, a native of Windham, Conn., grew up in Winchester, Mass., and Madison, Maine. He graduated from Harvard University and served in World War I as an Army pilot.
After the war he did refugee relief work in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East, then returned to Harvard where he received a doctorate in economics.
While doing his doctoral work at Harvard he did much of the research that led to "The Modern Corporation and Private Property." An underlying thesis of the book is that stock ownership in modern corporations is so widely dispersed that the effective control of the corporations is not in the hands of the owners.
In 1935, Dr. Means and his wife, Caroline F. Ware, purchased a 70-acre farm and apple orchard north of Vienna for $7,000. Since then they had lived on the property in a white clapboard house, part of which is a one-room log cabin dating to 1760.
In recent years, Dr. Means had worked on solar energy projects there while pursuing an interest in various conservation efforts.
In 1980, with the property then worth more than $2 million, they gave 50 acres to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority which now operates Meadowlark Gardens Regional Park on the site. Eventually the remaining 20 acres also will become part of the park.
He is survived by his wife.
DOROTHEA A. COOK
Teacher and Principal
Dorothea A. Cook, 88, a retired D.C. schoolteacher and principal, died Feb. 15 at Sibley Memorial Hospital of complications after a stroke.
Miss Cook was a fifth-generation Washingtonian and a lifelong resident of this city. She graduated from Eastern High School, the Wilson Teachers College and George Washington University. She received a master's degree in education from Columbia University.
Miss Cook spent her entire teaching career with the D.C. public schools. She retired in 1959 as principal of Murch Elementary School after 38 years in the school system. She also had taught for many years at Buchanan Elementary School.
There are no immediate survivors.
ROY MAURICE ISAMAN
Decorated Navy Flier
Roy Maurice Isaman, 70, a retired Navy rear admiral who commanded a carrier division in the Vietnam war and earned the Navy Cross as a pilot in World War II, died of cancer Feb. 15 at his home in Potomac.
Adm. Isaman was born in Lewiston, Idaho. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 1939 and went into the Navy in 1940. He received flight training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station and became an aviator.
During the war he served in the Pacific. He was part of the task force that launched the famous raid on Tokyo led by Gen. James Doolittle in 1942. Later, he was a fighter pilot aboard the aircraft carrier Midway.
Adm. Isaman's wartime decorations included the Navy Cross, the highest decoration for heroism in the service except for the Medal of Honor. He also was awarded the Air Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.
In the postwar years Adm. Isaman served at various naval stations and also graduated from the Naval War College at Newport, R.I.
In 1965, he was named commander of Carrier Division 7 in Vietnamese waters. His final post was as commander of the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent, Md.
After his retirement from the Navy in 1974, he was vice president of Flight Systems Inc., a defense contractor. He retired in 1984.
Adm. Isaman was a member of the Chevy Chase Club and the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
His marriage to the former Elizabeth Brown ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, the former Nancy M. Taylor, of Potomac; two children by his first marriage, Roy L. Isaman of Sasabe, Ariz., and Gail Isaman of Dolores, Colo.; four stepdaughters, Nancy M. Lurton and Bruce M. Sloan, both of Bethesda, Christie M. Connard of Corvallis, Ore., and Susan M. Smythe of Charleston, S.C., and eight grandchildren.