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Richard L. Therrien

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Richard L. Therrien Obituary

Richard "Dick" Lee Therrien

of Noblesville, Indiana, age 85.

Richard Lee Therrien died peacefully during TAVR surgery in the operating room at Health Park Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Dick was born in New Castle, Indiana on September 27th, 1928. He attended elementary, Junior and Senior High School in Richmond, Indiana. After a short stint in the paratroopers at the tail end of World II, Dick returned to Richmond to attend Earlham College. Upon receiving his B.A. in science, Dick continued graduate study in clinical and school psychology at the University of Kentucky, the University of Cincinnati, and Indiana University.

Dick has been involved in education in one form or another for the past forty years. He started his career in clinical psychology, working in a state hospital and ended the clinical career in an administrative position with Westinghouse. Dick switched to school psychology mid-career and spent another twenty-five years working in educational settings. Dick consulted with public schools, and was a member of the Indiana Special Education Board of Appeals, a board that helps to resolve special education conflicts between parents and schools in Indiana. Dick also was a charter member of the Indiana Professional Standards Board, a board responsible for the licensing and certification of teachers in Indiana.

Dick was able to view educational practices from a managerial as well as a practitioner's perspective. Dick is a past-president of the Indiana Mental Health Association and served as the chairperson of the Childhood Mental Health Committee for eight years. Dick also is a past president of the Indiana Association of School Psychologists, Division 16, and was elected as the president elect for the 2001-2002 term. Dick served on the executive committee of the Indiana State Teachers Association and chaired their legislative committee. Dick's membership with the International Association of School Psychologists allowed him and his wife, Laurie, to attended consortiums all over the world. Dick found that the educational problems from nation to nation are very similar, but the techniques for resolution are quite different. Dick brought a unique perspective to the field of School Psychology. For over thirty years, Dick was active in his professional organizations, and was a true advocate for independent practice, legislative initiative, curriculum and behavior research in schools, the need for more concise educational diagnostics, and better services for children. Dick received the Indiana Association of School Psychologists' highest award, Exemplary School Psychologist of the Year and was Indiana's candidate for the National School Psychologist of the Year Award on two occasions. Dick received the Governor of Indiana's highest award, Council of the Sagamore of the Wabash, plus many other awards recognizing his numerous contributions to education. Dick fought long and hard to raise the professional standards of school psychologists in Indiana, and to improve children's educational experiences.

Dick is survived by his loving wife, Laurie Therrien, of Noblesville, Indiana, two brothers, Fred Therrien of Colorado and David Therrien of New Mexico, his three children, Sheryl Kean of Richmond, Indiana, Vikki Plessinger of Columbus, Indiana, and Tracy Budd of Falls Church, Virginia. Dick is also survived by six grandchildren (Jeremy Kean, Justin McCracken, Adria Thomas, Olivia Taylor, Karmen Riley, and Bralyn Plessinger), fifteen great-grandchildren (Keith Baker, Kyle Baker, Mason Baker, Brennen Kean, Chase Taylor, Sydney Thomas, Karley Kean, Collin McCracken, Allie Taylor, Madysen Kean, Tyler Thomas, Danniella Riley, Shelby Thomas, Jaylyn Plessinger and Grace Satterfield), one great-great grandchild, Annabelle Baker, his mother-in-law, Marilyn Muhlenfeld of Noblesville, Indiana, two sisters-in-law, Kathy Marsh of North Vernon, Indiana, and Nancy Upchurch of Noblesville, Indiana, one very special niece, Lindsay Upchurch, three very special nephews, Justin Upchurch, Nathan Upchurch, and Garrett Marsh, and numerous other family members, and friends.

Dick requested that there be no funeral or memorial service when he passed away, as he didn't want family and friends to mourn. Instead, he wished that a party be held in his honor, to celebrate his life. When he told his wife, Laurie, that last summer, she informed him that they better have the party at that time, because it wouldn't be possible after he died. Dick laughed and said, "Well, not right after I die. It can be a little later when you can handle it, but I want a party." So, a party it will eventually be.

Dick did not want flowers or plants either; he was much too pragmatic for that. What he loved throughout his entire life, was children, and he spent much of his adult life working to improve the circumstances of children all over Indiana. Dick's and Laurie's most recent endeavor has been the Safe Families for Children program. Those wishing to make memorial contributions are asked to consider a contribution to Safe Families for Children, with a note in the memo line of your check "In memory of Richard Therrien". The mailing address is Safe Families for Children, 7168 Graham Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250. Donations can be made online at by selecting "SFFC Indianapolis" in the drop down box, and then dedicating the donation "In memory of Richard Therrien". Safe Families for Children is a 501 (c) (3) organization and contributions are tax deductible.

Dick adored his wife, Laurie, loved his family and friends dearly, and he has left huge holes in each of our hearts. Rest in peace, Dick . . . you will always be in our hearts and memories, and we will love you always!

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on May 1, 2014
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