Michael H. Siegel
September 8, 1933 – July 6, 2018
Michael H. Siegel, who lived in Oneonta and Unadilla for 45 years, died July 6, 2018. He was 84 years old.
He chaired the Psychology Department at the State University of New York at Oneonta from 1974 until approximately 2002, becoming Professor Emeritus upon his retirement. 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, Psychological 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, NJ on September 8, 1933, the son of Lilyan (nee Perkel) and Benjamin Siegel, Michael grew up in Hempstead, NY. 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, Wisconsin and Albion College in Albion, Michigan 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, Maryland; his son Donald and Donald’s wife Karen Siegel of Edison, New Jersey; his daughter Julie and Julie’s partner Jeannine Anderson of Takoma Park, Maryland; and brothers-in-law Edgar (Ted) Baker of Branchburg, New Jersey and James (Jamie) Baker of Brooklyn, New York.
A memorial service will be held in the fall.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Alzheimer's Association at https://act.alz.org/site/Donation2?df_id=32112&32112.donation=form1 or at 225 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.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Michael H. Siegel
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Celeste Brown Thomas
August 10, 2018
Dear David & Mary Ann, Donald & Karen, Julie & Jeannine, Ted, Jamie, and all the family,
Very sorry to learn of the loss of Michael. He was a legendary wit, kind soul, fine researcher, teacher, author, leader, and extraordinary friend.
Our dad, Foster Brown, was David's colleague in the Psychology Department at SUNY Oneonta since Mike first arrived to chair the department in '74. They became fast friends, and continued that friendship for some 45 years, till Foster's passing last year. Foster often said Mike was the best boss he ever had. The two shared many happy hours in Fitzelle Hall--often at the coffee shop there--discussing research, department business, and life.
Foster especially enjoyed Mike's sense of humor, quick wit, and wise counsel. He shared many a fun visit with David, Ann, and the family. My brother Wendell and I also have fond memories of attending school with the Siegel kids.
From our family to yours, we share your grief, and wish you peace. Condolences to the entire Siegel family. Michael lives on the many people who loved him, and who were touched by his generous, positive influence.
August 8, 2018
His wit was legendary. At the heart of a research group on the borderline between social sciences and philosophy his ability to cope with life and end of life questions will be greatly missed. He showed us how to live a full life while coping with adversity without loosing houmor and dignity. Thank you.,