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Obituary: Herbert M. Lefcourt '58

With deep sadness we announce the passing of Professor Herbert Michael Lefcourt on Tuesday, November 1, 2011. Close family were with him during his final days while he was under the superlative loving care of the many staff and volunteers at Lisaard House in Ontario, Canada. He succumbed to pancreatic cancer in his 76th year. Herb was predeceased by his parents Libby and Irvine Lefcourt of Brooklyn, New York, and by his sister Barbara Davidson of San Francisco. He leaves his best friend and devoted wife of 53 years, Barbara, son Mike (Laurie), grandchildren, Cameron and Miranda of Brisbane, Australia, son Jack (Mika) of Kyoto, Japan, daughter Rachel Tanner (Brian), grandsons Lucas, Isaac, and Callum of Kitchener. Herb grew up in Brooklyn, received his Bachelor’s Degree from Antioch College and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Ohio State University. He served as officer in the U.S. Public Health Service from 1960-1963. In 1963 he joined the growing Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo as Assistant Professor. His notable research, particularly in the areas of Locus of Control and Humor as a Moderator of Stress, led to the publication of a number of books and many papers. One paper, “Internal Versus External Control of Reinforcement: A Review,” published in Psychological Bulletin became a Citation Classic in 1977. Herb retired from professorship at the University in 1996 and was awarded the honorific of Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He had been a grants consultant with the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and had been editorial consultant to several psychological journals. In 1985 and 1999 Herb was invited to be a Scholar-in-Residence at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center of the Rockefeller Foundation on Lake Como, Italy while he completed two of his books. Herb had many enduring pursuits beyond professional life: woodworking, creative handyman at home and summer cottage, voracious lover of literature and classical music, film connoisseur, joyful summer resident on Manitoulin Island, and eager traveller to exotic lands. He was a critical commentator on social issues and the political scene and wrote powerful articles about them from a psychological perspective. Lively conversations with Herb sparkling with his irreverent humor will long be remembered by family, friends, colleagues, and former students. Cremation has taken place. A private service for immediate family will be held this week. As Herb was a longstanding member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Waterloo, a Celebration of Herb’s Life will take place at the congregation’s home, 299 Sydney Street South, Kitchener, on Saturday, December 17 at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow. As expressions of sympathy, donations to Lisaard House in support of their important role would be appreciated by the family. Arrangements for this may be made through the Henry Walser Funeral Home, 507 Frederick St. Kitchener, 519-749-8467