James L. Plummer (83), longtime resident of Los Altos Hills passed away recently at the care facility in Mission Viejo, CA where he had resided since 2021. He passed peacefully in his sleep. The cause of his death was old age, exacerbated by a brain injury / stroke that he suffered in 2020. His life was one filled with accomplishments in both academia and in business. He truly traveled the world, living in three different countries and continents.
James was born in Oakland, CA and spent his youth living in a modest house in San Bernardino, CA. He attended the University of Southern California where he met his future wife (Janice Joy Musial) and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Master’s degree in Economics. He went on to earn his PhD in economics from Cornell University. While working on his PhD thesis he and his now wife Janice lived in Yugoslavia while studying that country’s economy. He served as a Captain in the Air Force and taught economics for the US Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Leaving academia, James worked for the USAID in Bogota, Colombia, the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC, Occidental Petroleum in Los Angeles, CA and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, CA.
Having the relatively unique experience of working in academia, government service, and private industry, James observed that there were talented economists within these three sectors that did not have many opportunities to meet or exchange ideas in a neutral environment free of suspicion. At the 1977 American Economics Association meeting in New York City, he decided to do something about it. What Jim started that day eventually became the IAEE (International Association of Energy Economics). He spent a good portion of the next few years traveling for work. During his travels, he was able to help this new professional association spread to Europe and Asia.
In 1982 he started his own company, QED Research, Inc in Palo Alto, CA. He continued to run this company for the next +30 years.
He has authored or co-authored numerous books in his lifetime, including:
– An Introduction to the Yugoslav Economy
– Energy Vulnerability
– Electric Power Strategic Issues
– Strategic Management and Planning for Electric Utilities
– The QED Report on Venture Capital Investing
– Competition in Electricity
He also served on the Los Altos Hills City Council. In his later years, he volunteered for SCORE in Las Vegas which offers young entrepreneurs advice and mentorship from successful business people who are now retired.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years (Janice Joy Plummer) who died of heart issues in March of 2018. They are survived by their three loving children (Greg, Melinda, and Josh), their three granddaughters (Sara, Sierra, and Brooke) as well as the newest addition, his great grandson (Kyezen Brewer).
Per his wishes, James will be cremated at minimal cost and eventually his and Janice’s ashes will be spread together somewhere near the Santa Monica Pier where their relationship started in the 1950’s.
The family has no immediate plans for a memorial. But, are tentatively planning on getting together the week of Thanksgiving at his son Josh’s house in Lake Forest, CA.