in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. of Norwegian immigrant parents, Hiram L. Jome
spoke fluent Norwegian, which he taught along with the English language
at parochial schools during summer vacations as a college student.
During World War I he served in the U.S. Navy as a ship's radio
operator and graduated from St. Olaf College in 1918. He later earned
M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin and taught
there and at Denison University before coming to DePauw in 1931
to head the department of economics.
He soon became one of the most popular teachers at the university,
known especially for his ability to use concrete illustrations to
make abstract theory come alive. He explained profit margin by describing
trying to sleep on an army cot under a blanket lacking two inches
from reaching the edge of the bed. Often covered with chalk dust
from his lavish markings on the blackboard, Jome illustrated the
primitive "barndoor" sort of bookkeeping by writing on
the classroom door. "His graphs explode beyond the confines
of the blackboard," one former student wrote.
A kind and considerate teacher, much sought after by students for
advice and guidance on career planning, he was also an inspirational
chapel speaker and a productive scholar. He wrote over 30 magazine
articles and several books on subjects ranging from the radio broadcasting
industry to the Securities and Exchange Commission. An avid home
gardener, music lover, and baseball fan, Jome was a sometime catcher
on the Greencastle Kiwanis nine and occasionally played the violin,
or fiddle, as he called it. In April 1958 he suffered a stroke in
his classroom in Asbury Hall and died the next day. He was survived
by his wife Martha Fjelde Jome and two daughters, Helen Jome Houck '43
and Florence Jome Donner'44. His death came just as the department
was sending out a letter to economics graduates seeking contributions
to purchase a special collection of books to be placed in the library
in Jome's name. Ironically, the letter began: "The world is
full of memorials to great men. Unfortunately, in too many cases,
recognition was tardy and those honored could not enjoy the goodwill
expressed toward them."
A view across the pond with fountains in Bowman Park at the Performing
Bowman Park on the site of Bowman Gymnasium has become a favorite
hangout for students, who gather around the fountain in warm weather.