Charles Waldauer, 86, formerly of Rose Tree, Delaware County, a professor emeritus of economics at Widener University, lecturer, and author, died Sunday, April 10, of heart failure at the Foulkeways at Gwynedd retirement community.

Dr. Waldauer was interested in a wide range of topics that included gender differences in performance on college economics exams and the financing of modern public education. He joined the faculty at Widener in 1968 and, over nearly four decades, earned the school’s distinguished service award and was interim dean of the school of business, head of the economics department, and chairman of the department’s social sciences division. He also taught economics previously at Rutgers University and the University of Delaware.

An authority on taxes, inflation, unemployment rates, and other economic issues, Dr. Waldauer authored and coauthored many research papers, including examinations of sex discrimination in pay and the fiscal interdependence of local governments. He was published in the National Tax Journal, the Journal of Economic Education, the Journal of Finance, and other publications.

In a 2001 paper in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, he and two other Widener professors looked at how parental occupation and socio-economic status influenced the choice of a major by college students. “By understanding the students’ decision-making process, faculty and administrators can better respond to current needs and anticipate future ones,” the authors wrote.

He also specialized in how monetary policy could stabilize economic activity and the effect strategic planning has on the development of academic programs and curriculum changes. “Higher education suffers from chronic imbalances in academic labor markets,” he and coauthor Surendra Pal wrote in a 1988 paper called “Imbalanced Faculty: A Persistent Problem in Higher Education.”

He was a member of the Nashville-based American Economic Association, the Washington-based National Tax Association, and other economic-oriented organizations. He was also a fellow at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the Ford Foundation.

To honor his parents, Dr. Waldauer created Widener’s Fredericka and Sidney Waldauer Award, which is presented annually to the outstanding senior in the department’s economics seminar. “He was a fun guy but single-focused on his work,” said his wife of 63 years, Karen.

Born July 7, 1935, in New York, Dr. Waldauer earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from City College of New York in 1957 and a doctorate in economics from Syracuse in 1969. He met Karen Gordon while they were students at City College, and they married in 1958, lived in Media and Rose Tree, and raised daughters Jan and Kim.

Away from work, Dr. Waldauer served as treasurer and on the board of trustees for the Media-Upper Providence Free Library. He volunteered his time and expertise to community aid groups such as RSVP of Delaware County and Surrey Services.

He was interested in current events and liked to study history, geography, maps, the origins of languages, and sports statistics. He listened to music of all kinds, and, as his family said in a tribute, “could clear a room swiftly if he chose to yodel along with Jimmy Rogers.”

He and his wife traveled to Europe and elsewhere, attended concerts and the theater, and visited museums wherever they went. He loved animals, cared for many dogs and cats, and even tolerated a hermit crab or two.

“He was an irreverent man with a great mind, a kind heart and a wonderful sense of humor,” his family said.

In addition to his wife and children, Dr. Waldauer is survived by a brother.

Services were private.

Donations in his name may be made to the Delaware Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 399 Market St., No. 250, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106.