Dr. Charles Neuringer

Charles Neuringer, 85, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, passed away Monday, May 15, 2017, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.  Known to friends and family as Charlie, he was born on May 30, 1931, in Brooklyn, New York, to Anna and Benjamin Neuringer.

Charlie attended New Utrecht High School and Brooklyn College in New York City from where he graduated in 1949.  He then attended the University of Kansas where he received a master’s degree in 1953 and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1960.

Charlie was a graduate of the Veterans Administration Training Program and received University of Kansas Fellowships from 1955 to 1958.  After earning a Ph.D. in 1960, he took a position as a research psychologist at the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center.  From 1960 to 1962 he served as a deputy coroner for Los Angeles County where he performed psychological autopsies.

He moved into academia accepting the position of assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Dakota in 1962.  The University of Kansas invited him to return to Lawrence as an Assistant Professor of Psychology in 1964.  While at KU, Charlie held the position of Director of Undergraduate Studies from 1973 to 1981 and served on various departmental, college, and university committees.  He was a consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Suicide Prevention from 1966 to 1971, and consulted periodically throughout his career with the VA to reduce suicides among veterans.

Charlie is the author and/or editor of five books and has contributed 19 chapters.  He has authored over 100 published papers and has served as a referee for several scholarly journals. Within the Psychology Department, Charlie was known at meetings for being the first to utter, “I move we adjourn this meeting.”  After teaching psychology for 35 years at KU, Charlie retired from KU as a Full Professor in 1999.

Charlie became interested in theater in his later years; he turned his interest from the area of suicide to that of creativity, specializing in research on the psychology of acting.  He developed a class for the Theater Department, Psychology of the Actor.  Charlie also performed on stage in plays at the University of Kansas, the English Alternative Theatre, the Liberty Hall Players, and at Theatre Lawrence.  In more recent years Charlie acted with the Vintage Players.  Some of the many plays Charlie acted in include George Washington Slept Here, The Ballad of Black Jack, The Diary of Anne Frank, Annie, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

His creativity extended beyond acting to artwork.  Charlie took up ceramics and painting after retirement and could often be found in the ceramics studio at the Lawrence Arts Center.  He enjoyed painting primitive Egyptian images and creating ceramic totem poles and horses.

Charlie married Carolyn Jane Ely on February 21, 1960, in Kansas City, MO.  She preceded him in death in 2002 after 42 years of marriage.  He is survived by their two daughters, Miriam Neuringer and her husband Jim Salamon, The Colony, TX, and Helen Benefiel and her husband Greg, Lawrence, and three grandchildren, David and Rachel Benefiel, Lawrence, and Amy Salamon, Lewisville, TX; his brother, Sheldon Neuringer and his wife Rochelle, Asheville, NC; his sister, Renee Sands, Boynton Beach, FL; and several nieces, a nephew, grand-nieces and a grand-nephew.  His parents and a sister, Esther, preceded Charlie in death.

Friends may call after 2 p.m. on Friday and all day Saturday at the funeral home, where the family will receive them from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Graveside inurnment services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21st, at Pioneer Cemetery on the University of Kansas West Campus officiated by Rabbi Linda Steigman.

The family suggests memorials to Theatre Lawrence or the Lawrence Arts Center, sent in care of the funeral home.

Messages & Condolences

From Mary Ann Saunders...

I first met Charlie at LCT (Lawrence Community Theatre) in 1995 when I was running props for a show. One of my duties was to assist Charlie off the stage when the lights went down after the first scene. I later became the Director of Theatre Lawrence’s Vintage Players and got to work with Charlie several times a month with meetings and performances. Charlie was always fun to work with and the other Vintage Players really enjoyed being in a skit with Charlie. They knew he would make it really funny!
I frequently told my Vintage Players that when I was putting a performance together I would hear specific actor’s voices in certain parts and that was the main way I cast the skits. Charlie had a very specific voice and all of us will miss him greatly!

From Mary Gregerson...

Charlie was one-of-a-kind whose twinkling eyes always revealed his own on-going private joke with the universe. He is irreplaceable.

From Rita Stucky...

Charlie was one of the most amusing professors I ever had in the clinical graduate program, despite the subject matter which was quite sobering. He made a huge contribution to so many graduate psychologists over his long career.

From Debby Moody...

I am so grateful to have known Charlie through my friendship with the Benefiels. Charlie was such a kind person and I loved hearing his stories. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Charlie will be missed!

From Becky Buchanan...

I loved visiting with Charlie at our Wednesday lunch group. I will miss him.

From Kim Brook...

We all loved Charlie at the Lawrence Arts Center ceramics studio. He touched our hearts with laughter and his bright ways. Condolences to your family.

From Melissa Wick...

Dear Neuringer family: I am so sorry for your loss and you have my sympathy. As a member of Charlie’s “Theatre Lawrence” family he will be missed.

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