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1918 Willard 2022

Willard Thurlow

September 5, 1918 — April 1, 2022

Willard Thurlow died peacefully at home 4/1/2022. He was born September 5th, 1918 to Harry and Ethel Thurlow. He married Constance Farwell, his wonderful partner of 57 years on June 30th, 1945, in Providence, RI. Connie passed away in 2002.

Willard received a BA from Brown University, summa cum laude, in 1939 and a PhD in psychology from Princeton in 1942. During WWII, he worked with the University of California Division of War Research, Columbia University Division of War Research and U S Air Force, on pilot and submariner aptitude testing. After the war, he proceeded into academia at the Universities of Missouri, Virginia, and finally the University of Wisconsin 1952-87. He was chairman of the Department of Psychology 1979-81. He was a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the Acoustical Society of America, Psychonomic Society, American Auditory Society, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Chi.

His research embraced the psychology of hearing and sound localization. He devised practical ways to aid the hearing and visually impaired, including a “better Braille” system (that fell on deaf ears), early electronic telephone hearing assist devices as well as a mechanical device for tactile messaging for the blind/deaf.

Willard and Connie were blessed to have a family of three sons, Peter (Julie), Tom and Steve (Elizabeth) who brightened their lives with love and affection with grandchildren Andrew and William, Madison, Peter, Seattle, WA, Daniel and Julia, Aurora, IL and John, Green Bay, WI.

After retiring, Will worked with Connie on many volunteer programs. He sang in the civic chorus and Bethany Methodist Choir and composed songs in memory of Connie. He was a longtime member of Madison Golden K Kiwanis, for whom he wrote his “one more day above the ground club” birthday song 25 years ago. He especially enjoyed tutoring gifted and talented students in math. His piano/accompanist skills were as marvelous as his puns were bad. He led a long, productive life. Rest in peace, dad.

Private family service will be held June 4, 2022.

Memorials should be directed to the Oakwood Foundation or Bethany Methodist Church.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Willard Thurlow, please visit our flower store.

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