Dr. David West Keirsey passed away on July 30, 2013, of pneumonia. In his 91 years, Keirsey lived a full life and changed countless people's lives through his writing, counseling, training of counselors, and the sheer force of his personality. Born August 31, 1921, in Oklahoma, his parents moved out to California soon after, where Keirsey attended high school.|
After a short time at community college in Santa Ana, studying to become a high school teacher, Keirsey was drafted in May of 1942 and enlisted later that year as a marine fighter pilot. During the war, he flew a Corsair on countless missions in the Pacific Theater, including to Okinawa and other small surrounding islands.
At the end of the war, he returned to school with the support of the love of his life, Alice Winterbourne, whom he met at Santa Ana JC, before the war, and married on December 22, 1945. He earned his bachelor's degree from Pomona College and his master's and doctorate degrees from Claremont Graduate University. In 1950, he started his career working with youth as a counselor at a probation ranch home for delinquent boys. Subsequently, he spent twenty years working in public schools, engaged in corrective interventions intended to help troubled children. Over the next eleven years as the head of the counseling department at California State University, Fullerton, he trained counselors in identifying troublesome habits of children, parents, and teachers, and to apply counseling techniques aimed at enabling them to abandon such habits, without the use of psychiatric drugs.
Through his many books and articles on temperament theory, Keirsey made significant contributions to the field of psychology. Most notably, his "Please Understand Me" books have sold more than 2 million copies, have been translated into 15 languages, and have changed the way that many look at personality itself. Keirsey had a true passion for writing, and with his characteristic mixture of logical rigor and interpersonal insight, he continued to compose articles and debate ideas with family and friends until his final days.
He leaves behind his wife of 68 years, Alice Keirsey; along with his three children, Jan Montgomery, David Mark Keirsey and Tamara Keirsey; and eight grandchildren. A great mentor, a great friend, a great thinker, and a great man-David Keirsey opened many people's eyes before finally closing his own.
An informal gathering to remember David Keirsey will be held on Saturday, October 19th, 2013, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at the Newport Beach Tennis Club, 2601 Eastbluff Drive in Newport Beach, California.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, 101 East State St., #112, Ithaca, NY 14850. The entire proceeds will be contributed to the funding of the children's advocacy film, "Letters from Generation RX." Filmmaker Kevin Miller plans to include an "In Memoriam" in honor of Dr. David Keirsey at the end of the film.
Published in the Del Mar Times on Oct. 24, 2013