Katherine K. Wallman, former Chief Statistician of the United States, passed away at the age of 80 on January 17th, 2024 after a short illness. Katherine was a tireless supporter of federal statistics, from her start at the National Center of Education Statistics, to serving as the first Executive Director of COPAFS from 1981 to 1992, to her time as Chief Statistician of the U.S. from 1992 to 2017, and all of the work she took on while she was “retired”. Katherine had a sharp mind, deep commitment to federal statistics, and a welcoming manner which made working with her less intimidating than it should have been.

“Katherine was a giant whose absence is already felt throughout our community. She was one of the first people to reach out to me when I took over as Executive Director and was a strong supporter of COPAFS throughout my tenure. I will miss her intelligence, wit, and hospitable demeanor towards her colleagues,” said Paul Schroeder.

“I can only add my reaffirmations of sadness to what so many have already said whether in my current role as Chair of the COPAFS Board or in other of my professional ‘hats,’ said Felice Levine. “Katherine was simply a giant, as Paul noted, of an intellect, statistical and science policy leader, strategic tactician, colleague, and friend. We first met circa 1981 when I was at the National Science Foundation and Katherine was ED of the emerging COPAFS. We both aimed to advance and protect data and the underlying social science that benefits from them. We observed then our shared undergraduate degrees in sociology and its invaluable conceptual and methodological lens. We also more than observed the career complexities of women and persons of color as we were of the same generation with many common experiences. What so many of us will miss most, is Katherine’s warmth, wit, and wisdom and her understated sense of self as we advance her legacy on so many paths she set.”