Blair Justice, Ph.D., died peacefully at home on August 20, 2014, at the age of 87, in the arms of his wife Rita.
Blair was born on July 2, 1927 in Dallas, Texas, and was one of the Greatest Generation, serving in the Pacific at age 18 on the USS West Virginia.
Blair loved to learn and to share what he learned. He earned three graduate degrees: a Ph.D. in psychology from Rice University; a master's in psychology from Texas Christian University; and a Master of Science in journalism from Columbia University, after receiving his Bachelor's from The University of Texas at Austin.
His doctoral research at Rice on potential factors of racial violence led him to become a special assistant to Mayor Louis Welch during the turbulent race riots in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many programs and policies that helped ease racial tensions in Houston during that time were recommended by Dr. Justice.
He was an award-winning journalist at both the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Houston Post, where he was a columnist and science editor. He was professor emeritus at The University of Texas School of Public Health, where he was a member of the behavioral sciences faculty from 1968 to 2000 and was associate dean for Academic Affairs. He had a distinguished career as a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, academic administrator and researcher, authoring numerous scientific papers. Yet, it was his later career as a writer of books that allowed him to serve and heal an incalculable number of grateful patients he never met. His books were gentle lessons on the mind-body connection, why people get sick, how people can heal themselves and maintain their heart's "coherence," and how they can stumble towards grace even in the midst of unspeakable suffering.
Among his many civic and professional volunteer roles, Blair was a longtime patient advocate volunteer for MD Anderson Cancer Center for the lymphoma and bone marrow transplant patients. After suffering a stroke in 2008 with resulting aphasia, the communication disorder that left him unable to speak for nearly a year, Blair helped found the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center (HARC), the premiere resource for people with aphasia in Houston.
When he wasn't reading , writing, teaching and serving, Blair delighted in climbing mountains, running marathons, travelling, (celebrating his 80th birthday on the three continents of Tibet, Alaska and Antarctica), playing with his Tibetan terriers, and spending time in the Colorado mountains with Rita, his wife and soul-mate of 42 years.
Blair is survived by his wife Rita, his daughter, Cynthia Justice, M.D., and his son, David Justice. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Elizabeth.
The family would like to extend deep gratitude to our devoted caregivers and staff Juana Tuch, Sebastian Canuz, Paul Kariuki, Olivia Herrera and Tomas Esqueda,
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 23, 2014, at 2:00 PM, at St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Blvd.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family welcomes to donations in Blair's name to the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center (HARC), 3701 Briarpark, #310, Houston, TX 77042, harctx.org.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Aug. 22 to Aug. 23, 2014