STECHLER--Dr. Gerry, died peacefully at home on December 18 after a courageous battle with cancer. Born in New York City in 1928, Gerry graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, University of Chicago, Columbia University (Phi Beta Kappa), and Yale University (Ph.D., Psychology). His career spanned almost 60 years as a researcher, clinician, teacher, and theoretical analyst, with special interests in infant development, the integration of psychoanalysis and family systems, therapist's affects, and couple and family therapy. In 1964 he published a game-changing article in Science showing how anesthesia (specifically ether) given to mothers in the delivery room reduced the newborns' ability to attend to stimuli. The practice of using ether soon stopped. Dr. Stechler was at Boston University School of Medicine for his entire career, as Professor of Psychiatry since 1968, Chairman of the Department of Child Psychiatry for 11 years, and Director of Child and Adolescent Services at Charles River Hospital in Wellesley in the 1980s. He helped to found the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Institute of New England; and was an active member of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association, Couple and Family Therapy and Psychoanalysis. He was a founding member of Temple Emunah in Lexington, MA and served as its second president. Gerry is survived by his wife Toni (Halton) Stechler; daughters Amy Stechler (Bill Patterson) and Nancy Stechler Gawle (Peter); grandchildren Sarah Burns (David McMahon), Lilly Burns, Julia Gawle, and Adam Gawle; great-granddaughter Lyla Quinn McMahon; sister Mildred (Israel) Wolkow; and many nieces and nephews. His first wife Ellen died in 1977. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Temple Emunah, 9 Piper Rd, Lexington MA 02421.
Published in The New York Times from Dec. 19 to Dec. 20, 2013