Henry Leland

  • "Henry was a friend and I remember him fondly"
    - Jim Gardner
  • "Miss the Wednesday evening classes. Noel"
  • "I am very sad to learn that Dr. Leland has passed; however,..."
    - Barbara A. Fisher
  • "My deepest sympathies to Sherrie and the family. Henry..."
    - Mark Schachter
  • "Belated but sincere wishes to you Sherrie and your family...."

Leland Henry Leland, Ph.D., passed away February 13, 2013, on his 90th birthday, at home with his wife of 34 years at his side. Henry was born in New York City on February 13, 1923 to Ida Miller Leland and Aaron Sapiro. His mother was a Polish immigrant; his father a first generation American from Lithuania. They met in a Jewish orphanage in San Francisco. Henry grew up in Palo Alto, CA.; where he attended Peninsula School, and later public school. He noted important influences: the arts, becoming politically active (he worked for Upton Sinclair's campaign in 1934) and meeting social activists. After starting at San Jose State, the 18 year old Henry's college career was interrupted by the draft. He served with the 882nd Tank Destroyer unit as their "Radar O'Riley" (Supply Corporal), where his duties included teaching the Voting Rights Act. The 882nd was instrumental in the liberation of the Augsburg concentration Camp. Henry lived in Paris 1948-52 where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the Sorbonne at a time when the graduation rate for US students was 10%. His dissertation was " Personality & Political Behavior". Dr. Leland directed the 1952-53 census of children with MR for the state of NY, then worked in institutions for the intellectually disabled from 1954-70 as a clinician and researcher. His pioneering research in Adaptive Behavior led to an internationally used scale, and strong professional advocacy to stop using IQ to determine diagnosis. Henry lived to see the DSM-V diagnostic manual base Intellectual Disability solely on adaptive functioning. The committee chair was a former student! Henry left Parsons, Kansas in 1970 because "I've wanted to teach [ college] since I was 8." Leland published 66 works and co-authored a book on play therapy, an approach that is still in use. He was Chief of Psychology at the Nisonger Center and Professor at OSU from 1970-1993, where he developed an interdisciplinary curriculum for graduate training for future clinicians in MR/DD; later recognized by the National Registry. Dr. Leland graduated 67 clinicians and influences countless others. Henry was professionally active within psychology, helping establish Kansas certification (1967); on Ohio Board of Psychology 1986-95 (President 1989-90); served in the governance of OPA & APA. He received numerous awards; notably: the national Doll Award for outstanding contribution to science and clinical treatment of individuals with DD, Lifetime Achievement Award and OPA Psychologist of the Year (2000). He remained active after retirement, serving on the continuing education committee. Henry's advocacy included working for deinstitutionalization, being an expert witness for those with DD. Community service included volunteer positions with the Franklin County Board of DD (levy campaigns, supervise psychology, ARC Industries, Board of Trustees), Sage, Goodwill. Henry enjoyed cooking, stamp-collecting, antiques and travel. Preceded in death by infant son, he is survived by his wife, Sherrie Ireland; sons, David / Phyllis Hunt, and Daniel; daughter, Colombe; grandchildren, Ben, Maria, Angel, Tiffany; three great-grandchildren; family-like friends, Diane, Jim and Danielle, Jill and Kelly. A folk music celebration of life is scheduled for mid-March. Memorial contributions to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, 3960 Brookham Drive, Grove City, OH 43123, or online at www.midohiofoodbank.org
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Feb. 24, 2013