Archive for the 'Obituary' Category

Gerald R. Patterson, 1926-2016

Gerald R. Patterson

Gerald Roy Patterson, internationally renowned scientist and psychologist, died 22 August 2016 in Eugene, Oregon (US). Born in Lakota, North Dakota (US), on 26 July 1926, Patterson was considered by many to be among the founders of contemporary family psychology, particularly for his contributions to the scientific understanding of parent-child and marital relations. In addition, however, those who knew “Jerry” knew that he also embraced life closely, engaging in many outdoors activities, enjoying fine dining, and gathering with friends.

After serving in the Army in the Pacific theater in World War II, Patterson returned home and began post-secondary studies at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and then Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peters, Minnesota. Ultimately, he earned a bachelors degree and then a masters degree in psychology from the University of Oregon. He then matriculated at the University of Minnesota, from which he earned a Ph.D. in 1956, defending a dissertation entitled “A Tentative Approach to the Classification of Children’s Behavior Problems.”

Over 50 years later, the University of Minnesota recognized Patterson’s contributions by awarding him its Outstanding Achievement Award. The Minnesota award is one among many Patterson received during his lifetime. The American Psychological Association (APA) and groups within it recognized him repeatedly. He received the Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology from the APA, itself; the G. Stanley Hall Award and the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the APA’s Developmental Psychology, Division 7; the Distinguished Scientist Award from from the APA’s Section III, Division 12; the Distinguished Professional Contribution Award from the APA’s Section I, Division 12. Other awards include the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society; the Trailblazer Award from the American Association of Behavior Therapists’ Parenting and Families Special Interest Group; Presidential Award from the Society for Prevention Research; the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Developmental Psychology from the Society for Research in Child Development; the Cumulative Contribution to Research in Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; and the Distinguished Contributions to Family Therapy award from the American Family Therapy Association.

The reasons for Patterson receiving such substantial recognition are many, but they reduce to just a few major themes. He and his colleagues considered it sensible to study social aggression (or conduct problems) in children by closely examining the interactions between children and others—particularly their parents—in their environments; using intensive observations of these interactions, they were able to identify basic psychological mechanisms (especially negative reinforcement) the led to the development of coercive family processes (Patterson, 1982). Using this understanding, Patterson and his colleagues were able to develop and refine a successful method for teaching parents how to manage the behavior of their socially-aggressive children by, essentially, learning to manage their own parenting behavior. Having a stable way to examine coercive family processes and a powerful program for changing them allowed the group then to examine systematically other contributors (e.g., maternal depression, child abuse, stress) to difficulty in family processes.

Patterson and his colleagues insisted on employing strong scientific methods throughout their work. He was, he said, as much concerned with the methods employed to study phenomena as he was concerned with what he learned from the studies; if he couldn’t trust the methods, then he couldn’t trust the findings. Although he was a capable designer of studies and data analyst, Patterson collaborated with measurement experts and other methodologists, as well. He regularly engaged in detailed discussions about not just the theoretical aspects of scientific problems but also how different analyses might lead to different conclusions. His attention to such matters enhanced the strength of his contributions.

Patterson documented his work in 100s of articles, chapters, and books, often collaborating with the late John B. Reid, Thomas Dishion, and his long-time companion, Marion Forgatch. Many of the books (e.g., Antisocial Boys) were resources for scholars, but other books (e.g., Living with Children) were widely distributed because they clearly explained important principles to general audiences.

According to his own Web site and the published obituary, Jerry grew up in the northern woods and lakes and had a great love of the outdoors. He joked about catching fish from a canoe, cutting them open to examine the contents of their stomachs, conducting a quick analysis of variance, and then choosing which flies to use for his next casts accordingly. When I first got to know him in the mid-1970s, he and Marion were preparing to hike part of the north slope of Alaska—starting from inside the Arctic Circle and crossing the Brooks Range—before the area was going to be opened for oil drilling and the “arctic pipeline.” They returned with magnificent pictures of wilderness accompanied by superb stories of wearing bells on their packs and “tussocking” across the tundra.

A gentle man and a scholar graced our time and left us gifts. I’ll cherish them.

Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castalia.

Patterson, G. R., & Gullion, M. E. (1968). Living with children: New methods for parents and teachers. Champaign, IL: Research Press.

Patterson, G. R., Reid, J. B., & Dishion, T. J. (1992). A social learning approach: IV. Antisocial boys. Eugene, OR: Castalia.

Depression, suicide, choice, and our kids

In a wrenching obituary and follow-up articles, Eleni Pinnow courageously recounts her sister’s suicide following bouts of depression. Ms. Pinnow wrote, “Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth (formerly of Oswego and Chicago, IL) died from depression and suicide on February 20, 2016.”

I know that most readers of EBD Blog are looking for content regarding children and youths. At 31, Aletha Pinnow was not a child nor a youth, but she had been, and we can bet that her depression was not a recent development. The reports I’ve seen do not make clear that she had a life-long condition, but it would not surprise me.

The obituary does have a special twist, though:

Aletha found her true passion in fifth grade when she decided to become a special education teacher. She graduated high school a year early to enroll in her future alma mater, Northern Illinois University (NIU), in anticipation of that goal. It is the ultimate understatement to say that Aletha loved working with people with disabilities (especially people on the autism spectrum). She was a special education teacher for over a decade and she was, as she was happy to tell you, awesome at it. She saw the potential and value of every single one of her students and she loved them with a ferocity that would make a rabid mother bear quiver.

One can learn more about Aletha in what I think is the original obituary, and a follow-up from the Washington Post.

Is suicide a “choice?” I’m not so sure. I suspect environmental conditions compel people to kill themselves. We need to understand that phenomenon better. Because suicide is not a repeatable behavior, it is impossible to complete a behavioral analysis of it. This presents a substantial problem. That does not authorize us to go off willy-nilly, spouting untestable hypotheses. The topic needs to be examined systematically.

But, importantly, as Eleni Pinnow has done, it must come out of the shadows. We can’t hide this. Especially when we see depression in children and youths. The risk is too great that that subsequently there will be substantial problems.

Eleanor Guetzloe, 1932-2014

Eleanor Guetzloe smiling for the camera

Eleanor Carden Guetzloe passed away 3 March 2014 in Pinellas Park (FL, US) about a month after sustaining a head injury in a fall. Professor Guetzloe was a beloved figure among advocates for children and youths with emotional and behavioral disorders throughout her 35-year career in special education. She was 82 years old.

After teaching music and beginning a family with her husband, Bruce A. Guetzloe, Professor Guetzloe attended graduate school, obtaining a masters degree from the University of South Florida and a doctoral degree from the University of Florida in 1975. She began her academic career at the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 1968, but spent most of it teaching and conducting research at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, from 1975 until she retired (as Professor Emerita) in 2001.

Although she was concerned about many aspects of emotional and behavior disorders, for a period in her career Professor Guetzloe focused intensely on prevention of suicide. She lectured widely and wrote books on the topic such as Youth Suicide: What the Educator Should Know (1989) and Depression and Suicide: Special Education Students at Risk (1991).

Although she considered teaching her foremost passion, she was widely known for her contributions to professional organizations. She was a regular speaker at conferences and was elected to the presidency of both the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders (CCBD) and the Pioneers Division, two sub-groups of the International Council for Exceptional Children. CCBD named an undergraduate scholarship award after her.

Professor Guetzloe’s husband died about a year before she did. She is survived by their three children and, at the time of her passing, three grandchildren.

Marilyn Kaff interviewed Professor Guetzloe as a part of the Janus Project (free video available). The Tampa Tribune published an official obituary.

Lovaas obituary

Over on Spedpro I posted a brief account of the research conducted by O. Ivar Lovaas. Professor Lovaas, the eminent behavioral psychologist who developed detailed procedures for teaching individuals with Autism, died earlier this week.

Ted Carr dies at 61

Edward G. Carr, a widely respected respected authority on Autism, was killed in an automobile accident Saturday 20 June. I’ve posted an obituary on SpedPro.

K. Kavale’s death

For folks who do not routinely read LD Blog or SpedPro: I report sadly that Ken Kavale died Saturday. I posted an obituary yesterday at Kenneth A. Kavale, 1946-2008.

William C. Morse, 1915-2008

William C. Morse, one of the major influences during the 1950s-90s on the education and treatment of children and youths with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, died 25 January in Michigan, at 92 years of age. Professor Morse was born in Erie (PA, US) in 1915 and spent his academic career at the University of Michigan.

Professor Morse received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938, a Master of Arts degree in 1939, and a Ph.D. in 1947. During his tenure at Michigan, he served as chair of the Combined Program in Education and Psychology. After his retirement from Michigan, he taught at California State University at Northridge and more recently he continued to teach a course each spring semester at the University of South Florida. During his academic career Professor Morse also worked with important professional organizations including the American Educational Research Association, the American Orthopsychiatric Association, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the National Commission on Mental Health of Children and Youth. Professor Morse received the Wallace W. Wallin Award from the Council for Exceptional Children in 1977, and he was honored by a scholarship created in his name at the University of Michigan where he also received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Awards in 1969-70.

A chapter written by Professor Morse in a book about Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (edited by Jim Kauffman and Denny Lewis, 1974), included this biographical note:

During his years as an educator of behavior-disordered children, Dr. Morse has served in many capacities. For fifteen years (1945-1961), he was Director of the University of Michigan Fresh-Air Camp for Emotionally Disturbed Boys. He has also been a consultant to the Ann Arbor Public Schools, to the Hawthorne Center in Northville, Michigan, and to the United States Office of Education, Bureau of Education for the Handicapped….He is also a member of the editorial board of the Council for Exceptional Chidlren and of the publications board of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Professor Morse’s academic career was marked by publication of many influential books and articles. Perhaps his most widely known work was Conflict in the Classroom, which Professor Morse edited with Nicholas Long and Ruth Newman; first published in 1965, it appeared in five editions, most recently in 1996 [see Sheldon’s correction—JohnL]. However, his first book (Studies in the Psychology of Reading, 1951) and several other works focused on diverse matters in education. Among his passions, he also strongly championed consideration of the humanistic approaches to and affective aspects of education. As author and co-author of many articles, Professor Morse contributed to the scientific understanding of students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. For example, his paper “Personality patterns of pupils in special classes for the emotionally disturbed” (co-authored with Herbert Quay and Richard Cutler) was one of the first to take an empirical approach to classifying children’s behavior disorders.

Long, N. J., Morse, W. C., & Newman, R. G. (1965). Conflict in the classroom: The education of emotionally disturbed children. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Morse, W. C. (1951). Studies in the psychology of reading. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Morse, W. C. (1974). William C. Morse. In J. M. Kauffman & C. D. Lewis (Eds.), Teaching children with behavior disorders: Personal perspectives (pp. 198–216). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Quay, H., Morse, W., & Cutler, R. (1966). Personality patterns of pupils in special classes for the emotionally disturbed. Exceptional Children, 32, 297-301.

Rob Rutherford

Rob Rutherford at CEC 2005From Sarup Mathur, president of the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders (and a former student of Rob’s), here is a formal statement of the sad news that reached us this weekend about Rob’s death.

It is with profound sadness and deep sorrow that I inform you of the terrible news that one of our finest leader, colleague, mentor, and friend Robert Rutherford died unexpectedly at his home in Arizona on Friday, May 4, 2007.

Rob devoted his life to understanding individuals with emotional and behavioral disorders, working assiduously to help those most at-risk in our society develop ways to enhance their chances for success. His extraordinary dedication and commitment will always remind us to continually strive towards making the world a better place for students with emotional and behavioral disorders and their families.

I ask that you keep Rob and the Rutherford family in your prayers during this most sorrowful of times.

A viewing will be held Wednesday evening, May 9th, from 6:00 PM — 8:00 PM at Messinger Mortuary 7601 E. Indian School Rd. Scottsdale, AZ.

The funeral will be held Thursday morning, May 10th, at 10:00 AM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help 7655 E. Main Street Scottsdale, AZ.


Sarup Mathur, CCBD President

Here’s a link to the CCBD Web site. I’ll add my observations in a comment.