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In Memoriam: Dr. Donald M. Wonderly

 Dear OSPA Colleagues,

We are writing you today to report on the sad news of the passing of Dr. Donald M. Wonderly. Don was a legend in Ohio school psychology, serving as President of the Ohio School Psychologists Association from 1962-1963 and being the first ever to be awarded the OSPA Honorary Life Membership in 1967. We are pleased to share with you this memorial reflection from his former colleague in the Kent St. School Psychology Program, Dr. Caven Mcloughlin.

In Memoriam: Dr. Donald M. Wonderly (1920-2013):

Donald MacKay Wonderly, Ph.D., was one of the founders of the Kent State University SPSY program, having begun at KSU in 1963 with a grant-funded program to train school psychologist with prevention-foci. He died as the fall 2013 academic term began, aged 93.

Don anticipated RTI/MTSS/PBIS by about 50 years! In many ways he was a catalyst for creating a space for prevention initiatives in school psychology, an emphasis later championed by his students and others. Don served not only KSU but also school psychology in Ohio, including his term as OSPA President in 1962-63. Following his presidency, Don served as OSPA's Program Chair for a short period, and then as its first Executive Secretary from 1963 to 1967. Don's service to OSPA was rewarded with OSPA's first Honorary Life Membership in 1967.

Don was influential in creating a ‘market’ for school psychologists to work in alternative settings through developing a business-enterprise (PSI) that hired school psychologists as prevention-specialists in parochial and private schools in Ohio. After he left for retirement those reins were passed to former students from his Prevention/Intervention Specialty.

I knew him in his later years as a trainer at KSU, in which we overlapped. He was a curmudgeonly, inquisitive, intellectual-irritant―always questioning practices to make sure that face-valid but incorrect presumptions did not become a gold standard. Don never let a wrong-idea die naturally; he always wanted to make sure it was dead and deeply buried and that everyone knew it. Don was self-assured…he knew his ideas were correct and advocated tirelessly for their implementation ~ never did the words “On the one hand, and on the other hand…” ever pass his lips.

He was a good friend to school psychology practitioners and his inspiration lives.

Caven S. Mcloughlin, September 2013

Don's obituary ran in the Akron Beacon Journal today (printed below). Information can be viewed on-line here.
You can also access the guest book from that page if you would like to express your sympathy to his family.

Donald MacKay Wonderly, of Aurora, Ohio, died September 17, 2013. Donald, son of Ross and Augusta (nee Elfreich), was born April 26, 1920, in New York City. He received his BA in Psychology at Oberlin College in 1950; MA at Oberlin in 1951, and his PhD in Education at Western Reserve University (now Case Western) in 1963. He was employed as a professional musician from 1935-50; served in the Armed Services during World War II; was a family service case worker from 1950-51; teacher of developmentally disabled children from 1951-52; school psychologist for Oberlin, Amherst and Wellington Public Schools, 1957-'62 Associate Assistant and Full Professor from 1970 until retirement in 1983 when he became Emeritus Professor. He founded PSI, a consulting organization, in 1977.He served as President of the Ohio School Psychologists Association 1962-63 and was awarded the first Honorary Life Membership in 1967. He also worked as a consultant to the Avon Lake Social Service Agency. Don was pre-deceased by two brothers and a sister. He is survived by sons, Donald Jr., Hugh, Christopher (CaryAnn) and daughter, Laurel, as well as cherished wife, Barbara. Calling hours will be at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory on Saturday, September 21st from 2 to 3 p.m., followed by a brief service at 3 p.m., with Rev. Lorie Lerner officiating. Donations may be made to Crossroads Hospice at 3743 Boettler Oaks Drive, Suite E, Green, Ohio 44685-3743.

Published in The Akron Beacon Journal on September 19, 2013.

The OSPA Executive Board will host a tribute to the life and work of our esteemed and beloved colleague, Dr. Donald Wonderly, at our upcoming fall conference.

Thank you,

Ann Brennan - OSPA Executive Director
Amity Noltemeyer - OSPA President
Kate Lavik - OSPA Historian
Rob Kubick - TOSP Editor

 

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