Remembering the Life of David J. Theroux (1949–2022)

Founder and President, Independent Institute

The Independent Institute sorrowfully announces that David J. Theroux, Independent’s Founder and President, has died after a brief illness. Mr. Theroux passed away in Oakland, California on Saturday, April 23 in the company of his loving family.

Prior to founding Independent, David earned three degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, followed by an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. His education, combined with his philosophical inclinations, propelled him quickly into the rigorous address of public affairs. He became founding Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs for the Cato Institute (then in San Francisco, now in Washington, D.C.), following which he became the founding President of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy.

David founded the Independent Institute, as an academic, non-profit, public policy, research and educational organization, in 1986. ​​With the launch of Independent, David was able to realize his dream of an organization adhering to the highest standards of independent scholarly inquiry in pursuing the creation of transformational ideas addressing the most pressing social and economic challenges of the day. He authored dozens of scholarly and commentary articles, and as publisher directed the publication of more than 140 scholarly books. He also created and was publisher of the influential quarterly journal, The Independent Review.

He was the consummate entrepreneur, constantly identifying and leading the pursuit of opportunities for advancing the principles and application of liberty for greatest impact in the public square. He also founded and led the C.S. Lewis Society of California.

David is survived by his wife Mary Theroux, who worked alongside him from Independent’s founding, his two sons Paul (Sherlice) and Drake (Lai) Theroux, and three—soon to be four—grandchildren.

Always an astute and prolific writer, David’s in-depth analyses, shorter commentaries, and video presentations remain available at—and his legacy will be carried forward in the ongoing dynamism of the Independent Institute.

Read the full-length tribute of David Theroux here.