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McNEIL, Donald Crichton, Ph.D A Clinical Psychologist with a life-long commitment to the mental health of children and adolescents, passed away on April 23rd, 2014. A therapist, a social activist for mental health, and a teacher, Dr. McNeil was a devout advocate for the mentally ill, a kind and careful listener to those whose voices are small or easily passed over.Born in Libertyville, IL on April 29th, 1936, Dr. McNeil moved, at the precarious age of one week, to Laramie, WY with his father The Rt. Reverend Dudley Barr McNeil and his mother Charlotte Miller. The three became westerners at heart, as his father Bishop McNeil took over the offices at St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral in Laramie and helped establish many social services for Wyoming residents. Dr. McNeil obtained a B.S. in Biology at the University of Michigan in Anne Arbor, around the time he started to work at the Hawthorn Center. There, he immediately found his life's direction, designing therapies for the Center's many and varied patients. He would go on to complete his Ph.D in 1972 in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan. In 1976, he completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship as a Visiting Scholar at The University of California, Berkeley in Advanced Study in Psychotherapy and Alternative Models. Dr. McNeil moved to The University of Texas in Austin to become a Department Chair in the Graduate Studies Program for Behavioral Disorders and to become a teacher. He helped prepare doctoral students to work with autistic children and developed programs for the new learning laboratories in Austin's Independent School District for special needs children. During this time, he worked with The United States Office for Special Litigation and Civil Rights, in the Justice Department, to ensure fair access to mental health services. He appeared at this time as an expert witness during the Morales v. Terman class-action lawsuit concerning the Federal District Court's ruling to provide representation for incarcerated youth wrongly housed in adult prison conditions. As a young man, Dr. McNeil began his research and scholarly pursuit at The Ypsilanti Pre-School Project. As a recipient of many grants - The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the US Office of Education, and North Carolina's Governor's Commission on Advocacy - he was able to educate many many graduate students throughout his tenure. As a Post-Doctoral fellow he worked extensively with The Youth Law Center in San Francisco, CA for juvenile defenders. He was an Associate Professor at both The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Lesley College. He began his own private practice in Massachusetts full-time in 1989, and concurrently he continued to lecture and write. He never stopped teaching and he was rarely ever seen without a pen in his hand or an open book. He is survived by his wife of 42 years Anne Scalzo-McNeil Ph.D, his brother John McNeil of Beaver Island Michigan, and his son Donald Justin McNeil of Boston. A memorial service will be held in June at St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral in Laramie, WY. Arrangements by Conley Funeral Home, 138 Belmont Street, Brockton. For condolences please visit www.conleyfuneralhome.com or on Facebook at Conley Funeral & Cremation Service.
Published in The Boston Globe on Apr. 27, 2014
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