John G. Ranlett, a distinguished economist who was a longtime professor at California State University, Sacramento, died Saturday of health complications related to aging, his family said. He was 83.
Mr. Ranlett taught for 45 years at Sacramento State, where he graduated in 1950. He joined the faculty in 1957 as one of the first economics alumni to earn a doctorate and return to the department as a professor.
A renowned monetary policy theorist, he was widely consulted by government and industry officials and quoted in the press on economic issues. He presented papers at major banking conferences, including policy recommendations that were adopted by the Federal Reserve.
He wrote a textbook, "Money and Banking," which has been published in three editions and taught at top colleges and universities in the United States. In 1990, the Sacramento State Alumni Association honored him with the Order of the Hornet Award as a distinguished faculty member and alumnus.
Mr. Ranlett, who retired in 2002, left a legacy in his field that includes more than 100 former students who went on to earn doctorates in economics, including several who returned to teach at Sacramento State. In 2005, the university established and named an academic lecture series after him that draws top economists including his former students to speak on issues related to money and monetary policy.
"The thing that was most impressive about John is that he wasn't easy," said Craig Gallet, a 1986 Sacramento State economics graduate who returned as a professor in 2001. "He was a hard professor, and he expected a lot of his students. So it's not surprising that a lot of us went on to get Ph.D.s and now teach at universities around the world."
Born in 1928, John Grant Ranlett was a third-generation Sacramento native and only child of Frankie and Frank Ranlett. His father was a right-hand man to Joseph DiGiorgio, a major Central Valley grower who ran one of the biggest fruit-packing plants in the country.
Mr. Ranlett graduated from Sacramento High School in 1946 and Sacramento City College in 1948 with talent in math and athletics. A left-handed pitcher, he toured the state playing baseball at SCC and Sacramento State and with a semipro team. He earned a doctorate in economics at the University of Oregon.
Mr. Ranlett had four children with his wife of 47 years, Marion, who died in 2003. He lived in east Sacramento for more than 50 years and was active at Lutheran Church of the Cross as council president and longtime treasurer.
He coached his young sons in east Sacramento Little League and reminisced about growing up with Pacific Coast League baseball. He enjoyed telling a story about taking a trolley alone as a young boy from his midtown home to watch the Sacramento Solons play on "kids free" days at Edmonds Field.
"He used to hang around outside, watching for any couples who walked by," said his daughter Janey Sadler. "He'd go up and ask if he could walk in with them as their 'kid' so he could get in for free."