Michael H. Seigel, 83; Chaired
SUNY Psychology Department
ONEONTA – Michael H. Siegel, 84, who chaired SUNY Oneonta’s Psychology Department for almost three decades, passed away July 6, 2018. He had lived in Oneonta and Unadilla.
He retired in 2002 after 28 years as department chair, becoming professor emeritus. A research psychologist rather than a clinician, his original area of expertise was color vision, but expanded to include perception generally and memory.
Teaching, but even more improving the state of education, was his passion. He bridged some of these interests when he edited a book in 1976 titled, “Research: The Inside Story,” in which different researchers explain how they came to the field. The book captured his own such story in one of the chapters.
Born in Jersey City, N.J., on Sept. 8, 1933, the son of Lilyan (nee Perkel) and Benjamin Siegel, Michael grew up in Hempstead.
He attended Oberlin College as an undergraduate and received his master’s degree and doctorate from Rutgers University. It was at Oberlin that Michael met his future wife, Anne. They were married for 57 years, until her death in September 2015.
He began his career working for the Navy and then the Army as a civilian before moving to academia. His work for the Navy involved finding ways to improve the visual environment on board nuclear submarines to make long-term deployments easier. He taught at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisc., and Albion College in Albion, Mich., before moving to Oneonta to join the faculty as department chairman.
In later years, he became an avid amateur photographer and enjoyed writing short stories and poems. He organized a writers group where friends and colleagues could share their creative works and receive constructive feedback. Sadly, at the end of his life Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of his life-long love of reading.
Michael was perhaps best known in all circles in which he moved for his sense of humor and his charm. Quick-witted and always ready with a pun, he brought a smile to the faces of all those he met.
He is survived by his son, David and David’s wife, Mary Ann Pedee-Siegel of Silver Spring, Md.; his son, Donald and Donald’s wife, Karen Siegel of Edison, N.J.; his daughter Julie and Julie’s partner, Jeannine Anderson of Takoma Park, Md.; and brothers-in-law, Edgar (Ted) Baker of Branchburg N.J., and James (Jamie) Baker of Brooklyn.
A memorial service will be held in the fall.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17; Chicago, IL 60601.
Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta.