Donald Kent Routh was born March 3, 1937, in Oklahoma City, OK He died June 2, 2021 in Cape Coral, Fl. He was the second son of Brig. General Ross H. Routh (1907-1987) and Fay Campbell Routh (1911-2001). He is survived by his wife, Margaret Gonzalez; his daughter, Laura Diane Routh (Iowa City, IA); his three brothers, Rob Roy Routh (Austin, TX), Alan Campbell Routh (Chatham, NJ), and Jon Douglas Routh (St. George, UT); his stepdaughter Tamlyn Martin and his step grandson Paul Martin; and seven nephews, four nieces, three great nephews, seven great nieces and one great great niece. He was predeceased by his first wife, Marion Starbird Wendler Routh, and his daughter Rebecca Ann Routh Coon.
After receiving a PhD in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, Don pursued an academic career at the University of Iowa, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Miami. His broad research interests included the history of clinical psychology, clinical child and adolescent psychology, and pediatric psychology. His longtime colleague and friend Carolyn Schroeder pointed out the depth and breadth of his research interests. “He also made contributions to the area of developmental disabilities,” she added, “ including the history of ‘mental retardation.’’” In addition, he was one of the founding members of the Society of Pediatric Psychology.
A lifelong learner, Don received a BA in English from the University of Oklahoma in 1962. Forty-four years later, after he retired, he received another BA, this time in history, from Florida Gulf Coast University, and he went on to complete a MA in history. In between, he was totally dedicated to the field of psychology, publishing continuously and taking leadership roles within the APA and other professional organizations. He served as President of the Section on Clinical Child Psychology (precursor to Division 53: Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology), Division 37 (now the Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice), Division 33 (now Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities / Autism Spectrum Disorder), and Division 12 (Clinical Psychology), among other leadership roles.
He also served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in the 1950s.
Here are a few of the numerous awards he received, which indicate his impact on the field. He received Presidential Awards from the Society of Pediatric Psychology, The Academy on Mental Retardation, and the American Association on Mental Retardation. In 1987, he was named Research Psychologist of the Year by the Florida Psychological Association, and in 2002, he received a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association.
Since his death, many members of the world of psychology have expressed their sense of loss:
“A legend in our times, Don Routh is one of the most important leaders in our history to advance the cause of child, adolescent and family well-being across many facets of our science and clinical practice, and policy programs. We stand on his shoulders.”-APA Board member Eric M. Butter
“Don was a giant in pediatric psychology. He was a strong role model when I entered the field and the division early in my career. He represented the best of being a very nice human being while blazing trails and leading with humility and scholarship.” -APA fellow and candidate for president-elect Mary Ann McCabe
Marion and Donald Routh Student Research Grant – Rutgers School of Graduate Studies
Donald K. Routh Early Career Award – American Psychological Association
Marion and Donald Routh Student Research Grant – American Psychological Association
Marion W. Routh Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund – Florida Gulf Coast University
Donald K. Routh endowed scholarships- Oklahoma Military Academy (Rogers State University)
Donations in lieu of flowers
Unitarian Universalist Church, 13411 Shire Ln, Fort Myers, FL 33912; donate here
Marion W. Routh Memorial Scholarship Endowed Fund, Florida Gulf Coast University, 10501 FGCU Blvd. S. Fort Myers, FL 33965. This fund supports FGCU undergraduates majoring in environmental engineering or environmental studies, or graduates pursuing degrees in environmental science. email firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychology archives, University of Akron, Akron, OH; donate here
Donald Routh memorial family gathering end of July or during August 2021 in Cape Coral, FL or Austin, TX or alternate location
Message from Marge
I thank so many for their love and support while Donald Routh, my husband of nearly 11 years, received home hospice care. On the morning of June 2, 2021, he died peacefully at home. Don had a remarkable career as a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Iowa and University of Miami, where he led the clinical psych program. He was the go-to guy for the history of clinical psych, having written the book on it (Clinical Psychology since 1917). Of all the aspects of his work, what he enjoyed most was directing graduate students writing dissertations and theses. He directed over a hundred such projects. Twenty-two years ago he got colon cancer and took an early retirement. He recovered and made great use of his time getting a second BA and MA in history at Florida Gulf Coast University. Some of his thesis work ended up as a chapter in a book on Musifer Sheriff, a social psychologist.
He always had an academic project. But what I think he should be most remembered for is his kindness. When Marion, his wife of many years died, I felt sorry for him and invited him to go to the movies with me. The movie we saw was The Proposal (not too subtle). Nonetheless, when he did propose I (famously in our family) choked on my sushi. He took on my daughter (age 30 at the time) and grandson (age 9 at the time) and our two dogs and became the rock of this family. We will all miss him. His last days were full of comfort from his family. His daughter Lauri came from Iowa (twice). His brother Alan in New Jersey had Starbucks deliver him a Frappuccino every morning. We were so grateful for the visits from Alan and Don’s Texas relatives June and Clay, adult children of his brother Rob, and for all the love and support from family over the Internet and phone. We were happy that Don was able to rally for a while when his brother Jon and wife Biviana came from Utah.
Lucky me to have spent my seventies with this extraordinarily kind, funny, smart, generous person.
Margaret Gonzalez, June 2, 2021