Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Obit: Dr. Esther H. Strauss

The neuropsychological community was saddened last month by the death of Dr. Esther Strauss of Victoria, Canada.

Here is her obituary, which appeared in the Victoria Times-Colonist on 19 June 2009:

Victoria Times-Colonist
19 June 2009

Esther Strauss

STRAUSS, Esther Helen It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Esther Strauss of Victoria, British Columbia, the beloved wife of Dr. Josef Cherniawsky, mother of Ze'ev, Avital and Tamar, sister of Howard Strauss (Donna) and aunt of Jessica, Nathan, Cathy and Dana. Esther passed away on June 17, 2009 at the Palliative Care Unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital after a 3 and a half year battle with ovarian cancer. Esther never gave up fighting, always saying that she wanted to be with us forever. The love of her life was her family, which always came first. Esther excelled both in family life and in her chosen profession. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University in 1969 where she majored in psychology and sociology. She then earned Masters degrees in sociology from Northeastern University (1971) and in special education from Boston University (1972). Between 1973 and 1976 she worked at the Aphasia Research Center in the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital where she developed her longstanding commitment to neuropsychological research. She completed her doctorate in psychology under Professor Morris Moscovitch in 1980 at the University of Toronto. Esther then took up a position as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Victoria. She attained the rank of full professor in 1991. Among her numerous accomplishments, Esther is responsible with Professor Otfried Spreen and Dr. Elizabeth Sherman for producing the standard reference text on neuropsychological tests widely used for clinical diagnosis and evaluation. Very shortly after arriving at the University of Victoria, she entered into a long-standing and very productive collaboration with Professor Juhn Wada of the University of British Columbia medical school. Together, they published important articles on brain organization based on neurological evidence. More recently, Esther forged a highly successful collaboration (Project MIND) with Professors David Hultsch and Michael Hunter in which they investigated how short-term fluctuations in a person's reaction time predicts later mental decline. This research has crucial implications for our understanding of age-related changes in cognitive ability and has laid the foundation for important future work on the neuropsychology of aging. Even with all these accomplishments, Esther always said her greatest achievement was her kids. Esther will be dearly missed by her family, co-workers and many friends. The funeral will be held on Friday, June 19 at 2:30 pm at the Jewish Cemetery, located on Cedar Hill Road at Fernwood. In lieu of gifts, donations may be made to the Victoria Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation or to the charity of your choice.

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