Orville Brim
Brim, Orville G.
Orville Gilbert Brim, Jr., known to all as Bert, died peacefully at his home in Florida on April 15th. He is survived by his four children, John G. Brim, Scott W. Brim, Margaret L. Brim, and Sarah M. Brim, their spouses, and his nine grandchildren. All of his extensive family loved him dearly as father, grandfather, father-in-law, uncle, mentor, and friend.
Born in 1923 in Elmira, NY to the late Orville and Helen (Whittier) Brim, Bert grew up in Columbus, OH. He spent childhood summers at his family's home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and later in Lakeville, CT. Bert also lived in Hawaii as an adolescent, which led to his lifelong love of ocean beaches.
Bert entered Yale University in the fall of 1941. His studies were interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a Lieutenant in the US Army Air Force, piloting a B-24 bomber while on combat duty in the Pacific.
During a two-week leave from Air Force training in 1944, Bert met Kathleen Jane Vigneron at a reception in Lakeville, CT He returned to his family's home that night and announced that he had met the woman he was going to marry. He did so shortly afterwards while stationed in Champagne, IL, and they remained happily married for 59 years, until Kathy's death in 2003.
Following his discharge Bert returned to Yale, earning his B.A. degree in 1947 and his Ph.D. in Sociology in 1951. After teaching at the University of Wisconsin for three years he returned east and joined the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, of which he became President in 1964. In 1974 Bert was appointed President of the Foundation for Child Development, also in New York.
Throughout his professional career Bert wrote or co-authored many books and scholarly articles. He was most proud of his book, Ambition: How We Manage Success and Failure Throughout Our Lives, published in 1992 and currently in the process of digital re-publication on Amazon. Bert served as Fellow, Board member, and in other leadership positions at numerous social science organizations. He served as Board Chairman of The American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences and as a longtime member of the Board of the William T. Grant Foundation. He received many academic and professional awards and was especially proud to have received the Wilbur Cross Medal of the Yale Graduate School Association in 1975.
In 1991 The John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation asked Bert to lead its Research Network on Successful Midlife Development. This project continued for ten years, and was the first of its kind. A seminal study, the MacArthur Midlife project continues to spawn new research to this day.
Bert and Kathy were long-time residents of Old Greenwich, CT. They had many happy times at their beloved Rocky Point Club. Bert enjoyed playing softball and was also an avid tennis player and jogger. He loved listening to big band music and dancing with his favorite partner, Kathy. Bert served for many years as a Trustee of the Greenwich Hospital Association.
Bert and Kathy later lived for six happy years in Manhattan. During this time they also created a family summer gathering spot in Watch Hill, RI where they were members of The Misquamicut Club.
In 1988 they began to reside much of the year in Florida, enjoying outdoor sports and many happy family visits. While continuing his MacArthur work from there, Bert also found time to continue his love of sports as an avid fan of his Ohio State Buckeyes and the New England Patriots. Throughout Bert's life, and continuing after Kathy's death, he travelled the world, always keenly interested in geography, other cultures, and especially beaches. During his life he amassed, with the help of travelling friends, a collection of nearly 900 ocean beach sand samples from throughout the world. This collection now resides at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Florida.
Bert remained to the final day of his life an inquisitive, thoughtful, and kind man. He was beloved by his many friends and colleagues, and will be deeply missed by his family. A memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church in Old Greenwich, CT on Saturday, June 11th at 10:00 am.
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Published by Greenwich Time on Apr. 26, 2016.
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While we never met in person, I was fortunate enough to have known Bert through phone conversations where we would share ancestry information. His cousin Gene Brim is my father-in-law, and while I originally contacted him while looking for information, he would call occasionally just to touch base or share information he had come across. I feel blessed to have known him, even if it was only over the phone. He will be missed by many.
Jodi Rabquer
May 10, 2016
I first met Bert when I was selected to be part of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Mid-Life Development (MIDMAC). As others have noted in many venues, Bert was a giant in the field. He was a creative and rigorous thinker and was constantly questioning assumptions and accepted approaches to a wide range of issues. He was also, however, an incredibly generous, kind, and warm man. It was always a pleasure to talk to him, whether about psychological theory, the latest research in a particular area, or the wondrous variations in ocean sands. One of the many wonderful benefits of getting to know Bert was meeting and getting to know Kathy. We often sat together at MIDMAC dinners and talked and laughed. After the first few meetings we sought each other out to share stories and experiences. As I got to know Kathy, it became clear why they were so in love; they shared many of the same wonderful qualities. I will never forget when a group of us had a sort of MIDMAC reunion with Bert in Vero Beach. We of course told stories and reminisced about the many trips and intellectual excursions we had taken together. One moment, however, stuck out for me. Bert was showing us through the house and slowed and changed his tone when he began telling us about each picture of Kathy or Kathy and him. I can't remember how long that was after Kathy passed, but I think it had been quite a while. Nevertheless, he could not have beamed more, or expressed his love and affection any more, had Kathy been there beside him. Although Bert always had a reserved and elegant politeness, I was enthralled with how alive he had kept his love for Kathy and how well he was able to express it to us through his stories. It was painful to watch the tears form in his eyes but heartening to know how much their love sustained him. I of course miss Bert, but will be affected forever by his kindness, elegance, and generosity of spirit.
Paul Cleary
May 6, 2016
May 5, 2016
We honor Bert Brim as the father of Child Trends. We are grateful that he had the foresight to see the need for an organization that would define and monitor the well-being of children. I hope that he was proud of his accomplishment. My best wishes to the family of this exceptional person!
Kristin Moore
May 5, 2016
It is with great appreciation and fondness, that the Foundation for Child Development reflects on the signification contributions that Dr. Orville Bert G. Brim made as President from 1973-1984. Dr. Brim was the first President to realize the Foundation's new mission to support social research and advocacy that could inform sound policy action in promotion of positive early childhood development. Under his insightful leadership, the Foundation shaped the focus on whole child development and well-being, particularly understanding children's developmental trajectories within and across the contexts and settings in which children live. Further, he set the stage for understanding early childhood development within the broader continuum of human development and within inter-generational relationships. As a result, the Foundation partnered with or supported many seminal works of psychologists and social scientists, such as Jerome Kagan and Urie Bronfenbrenner.

In 1981, under Dr. Brim's direction, the Young Scholars Program was formed to nurture emerging scholars in their field and recognizing, in his words, that new talents are requiredin analyzing the impact of societal forces on the individual child. Previously, in partnership with the William T. Grant Foundation, he established Congressional Science Fellowships through the Society for Research in Child Development. These fellowships provided individuals with the opportunity to learn about and contribute to the national legislative process with the goal of translating child development knowledge into public policymaking. Many of the individuals participating in these two fellowship programs are influential in their fields and hold leadership positions through which they further broaden Dr. Brim's and the Foundation's impact.

His discerning approach to influencing policy was based on the notion that data could be used as a voice for children in the policymaking process. As a result, he led the Foundation to expand previous local, New York City research data efforts to support collecting and analyzing national data on children's overall well-being, which resulted in start-up funding for Child Trends, Inc. Further with his guidance, the Foundation strengthened advocacy for child policy with support to organizations, such as the National Black Child Development Institute and the Children's Defense Fund.

His foresight, his respect for research and knowledge, and his deep commitment to American children is evident in his time at the helm of the Foundation for Child Development. Dr. Brim's legacy still continues in the work of the Foundation today. We are deeply grateful for his leadership and his instrumental contributions to the Foundation for Child Development. To his family, his students, and to the field of early child development which he helped build, we send our condolences on his loss.

For more information on Dr. Brim's influence at the Foundation for Child Development, please see 100 Years of Commitment to Children: Change and Continuity at the following link: http://fcd-us.org/sites/default/files/100YearsOfCommitmentToChildren.pdf.
Foundation For Child Development
May 5, 2016
I spent 6 months as a Belding scholar at the foundation for child development in New york with Bert .
It was a wonderful and exciting time and led to the creation of the young scholars program in social and affective development which supported many young scholars who went on to stellar academic careers.
Bert was a wise ,thoughtful and socially concerned mentor to me and so many others .
Thank you for your many fine contributions and of course your sense of urbane style.
ross parke
May 5, 2016
I remember so well the Brim household in the late 50's and early '60's. We were a bit in awe of Mr. Brim and totally in the thrall of Kathy. Bert stood out from then on as the most interesting and intellectually challenging man in our corner of the world with the capacity and the commitment to leave a lasting legacy in our civic space. His ideas about how people can live more thoughtful and rewarding lives and his impact on charitable giving has made a real difference for a couple of generations. We will remember him fondly and with great admiration for a long time.
Peter Munkenbeck
April 28, 2016
Bert Brim was a towering mentor in my lifemodeling what it meant to be a rigorous social scientist, a probing thinker, a inspirational leader, a seeker. He was an elegant and kind man. I was only a kid when he asked me to join the Board of the Foundation for Child Development and I watched him carefully as he deftly guided and enhanced the organization and gave me my first lessons in philanthropy. I have fond memories of Bert and Kathy's generosity and kindness; their warm hospitality, their goodness and laughter, the way their love for one another drew the rest of us into their orbit. Dear Bert, I will miss you. Thank you for your extraordinary and revelatory contributions to my life and to the world. Amen
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
April 28, 2016
Sorry to hear of Bert's passing! My condolences to the whole Brim family & relations, from the whole Carlson family. A wonderful man that will be missed by all that knew him...
Douglas Carlson
April 26, 2016