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Milton Friedman's watch

August 25, 2009 | 10:28 am

Milton and Rose Friedman I note the passing of Rose Friedman, widow of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. She was believed to be 98.

After Milton died in 2006, I wrote a column about the time he and I sat side by side on a televised panel discussion about the economy (one of the more intimidating things I’ve ever done). I recalled how he was surprisingly down to earth, "friendly in a Jewish grandpa sort of way, like you half-expected him to reach into his coat pocket at any moment and produce a piece of candy."

I also observed that for a guy of his stature Friedman wore a really crappy watch, one of those cheap Casio jobs with a built-in calculator. I surmised that he was a man who didn’t care how things appeared, just that they worked.

The next day I received an e-mail from the Friedmans’ daughter letting me know how much her mom had been touched by my recollections. A few days later, an envelope arrived at my desk.

It contained a very nice note from Rose Friedman — and Milton Friedman’s watch.

A class act, those Friedmans. Oh, and the watch, which I had framed along with Rose’s note, is still working.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: Rose and Milton Friedman