Obituary for Richard Oliver Rouse Jr.
Richard Oliver Rouse Jr., the Mary A. and William Wirt Warren Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Williams College died April 16, 2017 at the Berkshire Medical Center.
Born July 9, 1920 in Dorchester, Massachusetts the son of Lillian Seaboyer and Richard O. Rouse, he attended local schools graduating from North Quincy High School (1937) and Harvard College (1941). He earned a Ph. D. in Psychology from Yale in 1949.
During World War II (1942-1946) Rouse served as an Aviation Psychologist in the U.S. Army Air Force at the Aero-Medical Labs, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. His research was on vision and light adaptation.
With the exception of one year as an Instructor in Psychology at the University of Connecticut and summers at Johns Hopkins and Wisconsin, Richard’s entire teaching career was at Williams College. When he arrived in 1948 there were only two positions and the department did not offer a major. By the time he retired in 1983 the department had expanded greatly. He taught a variety of courses in experimental psychology and served as department chairman for 13years. From 1968 to 1971 he was Director of the Williams-NSF Summer Institute in Experimental Psychology. A growing interest in psychoanalytic theory led to work with David Rapaport at the Ausen Riggs Center in Stockbridge.
Richard spent three sabbaticals in England with his family, two at the Applied Psychology Unit at Cambridge and one at Sussex University. He developed a lifelong love of most things British. During his long retirement he made almost yearly trips to Europe, North Africa, the Western United States and Canada.
Richard loved sailing. At 11 he learned to sail small boats on the Weweantic River at Wareham Massachusetts where his parents had a cottage. He raced dinghies at Harvard and later chartered larger boats from Maine to the Caribbean. When his eyesight no longer allowed him to captain he became a yearly passenger on the American Eagle, a schooner sailing the Maine coast.
Richard was a long time volunteer at Recording for the Blind and the Williamstown Board of Trade tourist booth. He took great pleasure participating in the weekly meetings of a local Italian conversation group.
Richard was preceded in death by his brother James, wives Mariam Gilbert and Peggy Gates and son James. He is survived by his wife Regina Solzbacher Rouse, his children Robert David Rouse of New York City, Linda Gates Rouse of Albuquerque, NM and Richard Oliver Rouse III and wife Margaret Rogers of Seattle, WA. He had three grandchildren; Grayson Starner, Katharine Rouse and Malcolm Rouse.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Richard Rouse will be held at the Williams College Faculty House on May 20, 2017 at 11:00. Guests will be encouraged to share memories of Richard.
Donations in his honor may be made to the SWCA Southlawn Cemetery Fund or to the Williamstown Historical Museum through the Flynn and Dagnoli Funeral Homes, 74 Marshall Street, North Adams MA, 01247.