Obituary: Byron Rourke, Ph.D.
BY DYLAN KRISTY
THE WINDSOR STAR
AUGUST 12, 2011 6:55 AM
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With a long string of letters following his name, Byron Rourke could have settled down anywhere in the world.
"He was born, raised, had a wonderful life in Windsor and eventually died there and he wouldn't have had it any other way," said Phil Rourke, Rourke's oldest son. "He had lots of opportunities to move elsewhere and every time he thought about it he said 'no, I'm going to make it here.'"
A retired University of Windsor professor of psychology and the recipient of numerous prestigious academic awards, Rourke died Wednesday at the age of 72.
Growing up in Windsor, Rourke attended Assumption high school before receiving his honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor.
He the received a master's degree and PhD at Fordham University in New York before returning home to live and work in Windsor.
"He married a Windsor girl and produced four boys who grew up in Windsor," Phil said. "It's kind of a reverse of New York, if you can make it in Windsor, you can make it anywhere."
Rourke has been regarded by some as North America's preeminent child-clinic neuropsychologist and was the recipient of a membership as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, a Gold Medal Award from the Canadian Psychological Association and an investiture into the Order of Canada.
Though Phil and his brothers would often become "guinea pigs" for his father's graduate students, he said having a child psychologist as a father provided them with pretty normal childhood.
"I had asked him once why he went into child psychology and he said it's because children have a chance," Phil said.
"If they get some serious diagnoses early on you can make a difference and I think that's what really what drove him."
Rourke, who Phil described as a "hulk of a man" with a "booming voice," filled his retirement with photography, philosophy, travelling, Tiger's baseball and playing the piano.
Rourke had beaten colon cancer and suffered a stroke about five years ago before he died in his sleep Wednesday.
He is survived by his wife Carolyne of 47 years, his sons Phil, Sean, Damon and Bernie and nine grandchildren.
Visitation for Byron Rourke will be held at Windsor Chapel Funeral Home, 1700 Tecumseh Rd. E., today from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A memorial mass will be held on Saturday at Our Lady of Assumption Parish, 350 Huron Church Rd., at 10 a.m.