Leighton C. Whitaker, Jr. Ph.D., ABPP Obituary

Leighton C. Whitaker, Jr., of Media, Pa., passed away on May 10, 2018, in Newtown Square, Pa.

After his undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College (’54), Lee, as he was known, went on to become a well-published clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. from Wayne State University and was a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. 

He served as associate professor and director of Adult Psychology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; professor and director of Mental Health Services, University of Massachusetts (Amherst); director of Swarthmore College Psychological Services; and consultant to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps. Lee was also a Fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment and of the American College Health Association. He served as chair of the Association’s mental health section and was a member of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis.

His ninety professional publications address clinical and social subjects, including college-student suicide, schizophrenia (he developed the WIST, Whitaker Index of Schizophrenic Thinking), and understanding and preventing violence. A highly respected editor, including for The Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, which he founded in 1986, and co-editor of Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Lee continued his private practice and editorship into his 80s.

Born in Chester, Pa., in February 1932 to Helen and Leighton Whitaker, Sr., and predeceased by his parents and sister, Doris Whitaker Schaffer, he is survived by his wife, fellow Swarthmore graduate Suzanne Bevier Whitaker (’54); their three children, Corinne, Priscilla, and Benjamin; a grandson; nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews; and a formidable biographical book collection.

A lover of Shostakovich, The Ink Spots, sports, and barking out car windows at dogs, he will be profoundly missed by his family (several of whom also attended Swarthmore), a lifetime of patients and colleagues, countless readers, and a world in search of emotional healing.

A private family burial will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages a gift to a charity of your choice, support for a dog-rescue or therapy-dog organization, or a gesture to reduce violence in the world. 

Online condolences: www.donohuefuneralhome.com

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