Raymond Bernard Cattell
Almost 25 years separate Dad’s first born and the birth of his last offspring, Elaine. An integral part of Dad’s family was Karen, his second wife, who mothered his three daughters and Rick. Theirs was a partnership of industry, innovation and particularly Karen’s organizational skills in founding IPAT. Dad’s legendary capacity for work and production was certainly matched by Karen in different but complimentary areas of endeavor in creating IPAT.
His youngest daughter, Elaine, shares a musical memory with her father in which she recalls many a car trip in which they would sing together, dusting off many folk songs from Devon that Dad had taught us all. Elaine had assembled a Cattell songbook during Dad’s final years, which is enjoyed by all of us.
His son, Rick, recalls that Dad was very hardworking and industrious during Rick’s childhood. Rick recalls more fondly the past several years, where he has, at last, been able to “hang out” with Dad in Rick’s visit to Hawaii. Rick has also worked hard and long endeavoring to protect his father’s good name and monumental contributions to psychology.
His daughter, Heather, has followed him into the field of psychology, in particular the field of psychometrics, and has become an integral part of IPAT and a member of its Board of Directors.
Mary recalls several trips with her father abroad. She recalls in particular a trip to Moscow. Her father had some navigational problems with the Moscow underground transport system. This resulted in a very long walk back to the hotel.
His wife, Heather, observes that a few days before Dad’s passing, he was working diligently on some problems in Factor Analysis, thinking quite clearly and anxious to be productive. She feels privileged to have been able to spend the final 18 years with Dad, as these were perhaps his more mellow years, in which there was perhaps the most time to enjoy one another’s company. All of Dad's children are everlastingly grateful to Heather for providing Dad with a warm, loving, caring and supportive home during his later years. We were all secure in the knowledge that he could not have been more happy and contented.
My own boyhood remembrances were that of a delightful and imaginative friend and playmate. We enjoyed boating, frolicking in the snow, skiing, and I always remember his sharing his friends with me, or, perhaps more accurately stated, he allowed me to participate in escapades with his adult friends. I shall always be grateful for these experiences.
Perhaps all of his children shared
sense that we did not have enough time to be with our
This has been felt more acutely in the past 18 years, as our
together became shorter and the distances became longer.
Dad could be fairly called an “agnostic”, there is a biblical
which I feel constrained to quote, and I feel best characterizes
life as concisely as possible.
Dad, fair winds and a following sea.
Hereward S. Cattell, M.D.
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"When a fierce wind blows, a great man has died." A fierce wind blew here early Monday morning, Feb. 2nd, 1998. Raymond Bernard Cattell, a beloved father, treasured professor, and an outstanding scientist died. We cannot expect to meet another of his greatness in our lifetimes.
I have been asked to speak from the vantage point of one who is also a psychologist, with others to speak from the vantage points of his family and friends.
Raymond B. Cattell was born near Birmingham, England on March 20, 1905, grew up in Devon, received his bachelors in chemistry, and the Ph.D. and Doctor of Science degrees from the University of London. He began as a practicing clinical psychologist, and then came to the United States in 1937. He taught at Columbia, Clark, and Harvard Universities before being appointed Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Illinois at the early age of 41. After his retirement from Illinois, he moved to Hawaii and had part-time appointments at the University of Hawaii and the Forrest Institute of Psychology.
In a long and distinguished career he was widely recognized for his contributions to his chosen field, psychology. Among his many awards are the Darwin Fellowship, Wenner Gren Prize of the New York Academy of Science, distinguished foreign honorary membership in the British Psychological Society, President of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Division 5 of the American Psychological Association.
Professor Cattell's awards were based upon an outstanding career of research resulting in some 55 books and over 500 articles. His work involved collaboration not only with his laboratory colleagues and graduate students, but also with literally hundreds of colleagues throughout the world. He was truly a world class scientist. This is also attested to by the frequency with which his work was cited. For several decades he was in the top 10 or 15 most frequently cited psychologists, and this was despite the fact that his contributions were so far advanced as to be seldom examined in undergraduate texts aimed at a broad market.
Ray was a systematic explorer in the tradition of the great explorers of the past, mapping the terrain of psychology. The areas he mapped included abilities, personality, motivation, small groups, and large groups such as nations. He was dedicated to basic science but also dedicated to seeing the impact of science to benefit our species, through the development of scientific approaches to areas ranging from those just named to ethics to the clinical care of people. Seldom has psychology seen such a diverse, system builder dedicated not only to the basic science's search for truth but also the need to apply science for the benefit of all.
As a student of Ray's I was impressed with his brilliance as were others. A fellow student came out of his office and said "he is a genius", a comment rare indeed among graduate students. Another comment was "whenever you have an idea, Dr. Cattell has already written a paper on it." And the statement that "Dr. Cattell writes faster than I can read" was said not only by students but his peers as well.
I personally found his greatest contribution to me was his example as a systematic, integrated thinker. Philosophically he saw science being the door to knowledge: if it could not be empirically tested, then how could it be true knowledge? This philosophy permeated his psychological writings, permeated his ethical reasoning, and permeated his personal ideologies. All these were warp and woof forming a whole fabric. As a contemporary student would say, "He has his act together, and it is awesome."
I found one of the most distinctive features of his psychological paradigm to be its behaviorism. His career began at the time of the behavioral revolution, and he was committed to it. Some failure to realize this is a key to Ray's thinking because they identify him with a personality questionnaire, the 16PF. But Ray opposed interpreting responses to it as self-report; instead he saw each item of the 16PF as a "miniature situation" for which the person's behavior was recorded. If it was not behavior, it could not enter into psychology.
Since Ray always spoke from his integrated paradigm and addressed the tough issues, I'm sure he would expect no less from me. My differences with him were two fold, but the two are related to each other. First, as a true behaviorist, he had no place for anything that even resembled mental events. In particular he had no place in his thinking for beliefs. I well remember the time when, as his graduate student, I summoned my courage and confronted him:
"What about beliefs? Surely what one believes to be true or false must have importance."
He leaned back in his chair with his hands behind his head, said "hmm … well …", and, after 5 - 10 seconds said:
"Oh, Dick…" and changed the subject.
When a house guest a few years ago, I raised the same question. To make it more meaningful, I placed it in the lagoon that their home overlooks. I confronted him again:
"Assume someone is drowning in the lagoon. Surely whether or not a person on shore believes they can swim and save that person would be critical in what they did. What about beliefs? Surely what one believes to be true or false must have importance."
He leaned back in his chair with his hands behind his head, said "hmm … well …", and, after 5 - 10 seconds said:
"Oh, Dick…" and changed the subject. A true behaviorist does not think in such mental state categories as beliefs.
My second difference with Ray was my commitment to Christianity. He, of course, knew that I was going to seminary after my Ph.D. with him. He always respected my beliefs and commitments even though it was clear when he thought of religion, "superstition" came to his mind.
For a long time, I considered his acceptance of my Christian commitments to be just a sign of respect to beliefs different than his own. Only recently, in thinking back over our "dialogue" about beliefs, did it dawn on me that beliefs were outside his paradigm, to which he was totally committed. He literally could not think in belief categories, as we Christians are prone to do. Hence we had no way to discuss Christian beliefs.
But of course even Ray could not really avoid beliefs. His acts of writing showed that beliefs were important to him. For what is a research article but an attempt to shape beliefs by sharing what has shaped one's own beliefs?
Ray's lack of beliefs as a category of discourse prevented us from really dialoging on religious issues. But Ray's behavior showed profound respect for Christianity (in addition to his belief that Christianity was too easy on people). This included supporting his children being involved in churches as they grew up and his respect for his wife, Heather's, Christian commitments. It also included his fondness for "Abide with me" in his declining months and his desire for a Christian burial.
I had hoped to reopen this discussion about beliefs with Ray by sharing a manuscript I am working on. It deals with the philosophy of knowledge by science but also by other areas, and would have given us another basis by which I would again have raised the question "What about beliefs?" But he passed away too soon - although if he had lived to be 100, or 110, or more, his death would still have been too soon for me.
When I have been thinking of Ray the past few days, I have found myself praying about him. To be truthful it was not for his soul, although that is what might have been expected of me for he was not a Christian in the formal sense. I have known, loved, and respected both Ray and God. I feel that they are very capable of working out their relationship.
The prayer that sprang up from my soul was, instead, that I could be a mouse in a corner, listening as Ray and God debated issues. I am sure that discussion would be fascinating.
God has blessed us by Ray, and that
blessing continues through our memories of him and the
Richard Gorsuch, Ph.D.
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We would like to express our aloha and mahalo to all of you who have come here to honor Ray’s long and magnificent life. We would like to express our appreciation to his family and friends who have traveled long distances to be here. We share our regrets with those of you who could not be here, especially Ray’s brother Stanley Cattell, who resides in England.
Ray first sailed to Hawaii in l957. He fell in love with it, as it reminded him of the best of his home in Devonshire England, and more. He decided to spend his last years here. Ray has died where he wanted to be....although I think he would be amazed to see himself dressed in a suit in a cathedral.
I was Ray’s friend and would like to reflect on his life as I have known him. First and foremost, one cannot comment on Ray’s life in his later years without including his relationship with his wife Heather, for Heather was first and foremost in his life. Heather and Ray were deeply in love with each other. They respected each other and trusted each other. They treated each other with kindness and gentleness. All of us who have had the privilege to be with them were always aware of their love for each other and felt the special romantic glow between them.
Ray had a number of relationships in his life. Once I asked him what he considered the most essential element of a loving relationship. He said, “Companionship”. Heather and Ray were companions in all aspects of their lives (except perhaps with housework).
I have spent wonderful times with these two great companions, individually and as a couple. Their friendship embraced and enriched my life.
A small international group of us, whose families were in distant countries or on the mainland, spent most holidays together. This included Mumbi Ndirangu from Kenya, East Africa and Jose and Josephine Blankleder from South America. Mumbi and Jose presented leis to the family and friends from the mainland as our aloha to them in honor of Ray’s love of Hawaii and them. All of us will miss Heather and Ray together.
But, how better to present Ray the individual personality than to discuss him in the context of the psychological test he designed, the 16 PF. His personality factors will be accompanied by anecdotal comments.
Ray could be felt as cool and aloof by people. But towards people he liked, he was tender and warm. His beloved dogs, bestowed with human characteristics, were his constant companions. His dogs could do no wrong. There was no disgruntlement towards them even when one ate his hearing aids.
Ray had a special fancy for women. He always noticed women and liked to flirt with some including several who are here today. Heather took this with a sense of humor and without jealousy.
One poignant event tickled Heather and I and is photographed with a smile in our hearts. We wish Mary was there to take this picture. Last year, my 84 year old mother who was very sick and feeble, and I went to visit Heather and Ray. We had ice cream and tea on the lanai. As we prepared to leave, it took some effort to help my mom and Ray to their feet. They were both quite weak and unstable.
While Heather and I said our good-byes, Ray walked over to my mother and took her arm to guide her out ..... “Now, step up here, step down there”.....They tottered out to the car together. It was such a tender and gallant gesture on Ray’s part. Months later when I telephoned my mother I asked her if she remembered the event. “Oh yes,” she said emphatically, “He certainly has a way with women.”
Ray was an extremely intelligent man with a great imagination. He spent volumes of time reading and writing, even during his last weeks alive. He liked to read biographies, history and poetry. Ray was not one to gossip about people. He frequently discussed what he had read or thought about with his own twist on the subject. He talked about research with a number of you here including Ron Johnson, Jerry Brennan, Sam Krug, John Gillis and Richard Gorsuch. John Gillis spent days with Ray, audiotaping and videotaping their conversations in preparation for his biography on Ray’s life and work.
If Ray had followed what he wanted to do , he said he would have been a poet (He definitely would not have been a housekeeper). For enjoyment he would recite poetry from Shakespeare and other poets at length from memory.
Ray was a dominant man. He liked to be in charge of things.......the great overpowering Zeus-like father figure. He was a leader, not a follower. He had high self esteem and great self confidence. He could be tough on people but never intentionally unkind. It is said that people who worked for Ray either became chemically dependent or became priests.
More recently, in the hospital, when things did not go his way in an argument with the “Junior Nursettes” as he termed them, he called 911 to urgently get help from the police for harassment.
Ray was shy and not very talkative. He lived in his head,“ an absent minded professor”. He liked to get together with people if they initiated it. He did not keep up with people...they had to keep up with him. He enjoyed a party and loved to sing. He liked to talk over dinner and to read poetry after dinner. For the past several years, he spent New Years Eve reciting poetry with his friends Rita and Bill Knipe.
Ray was a radical thinker and was very independent as mentioned by his son Herry. His radical thinking was sometimes a source of conflict for him with others.
In 1997 Ray was nominated by the American Psychological Foundation to receive the gold medal for lifetime contribution to psychological science. Then accusations of racism erupted. This was not unlike the great Titanic slamming into an iceberg. An elegant body of well-crafted work blindsided by sudden jolting judgment. Confusion, distress, dismay wrenched Ray and Heather, his family, and colleagues knowledgeable of his life’s work.
Ray who was quite emotionally sensitive, maintained his social poise and dignity at the annual meeting of American Psycholoical Association, as people from around the world honored him and awarded him at private receptions. He was hurt and saddened though. The events in Chicago shadowed his fading months and failing health.
Growing old is a nuisance. Ray did not like growing old. His vision and hearing gradually failed him and diminished his capacity to read and write over the years. Over the years he tried all sorts of concoctions to keep from aging ....vitamins, sharks cartilage, growth hormone, etc. Something must have worked. I think what really worked was Heather’s love and care for him, his love for her, and his creative spirit which never waned.
In the past few months Ray has had visits from all his children, his youngest grandchild, and a number of his friends. The visits meant a lot to him. Herry and his wife Bobbie, and his daughter Heather, talked with him and escorted him to an assortment of physicians. He became increasingly reliant on his son Rick to provide him a steady rudder and ballast to guide him through currents of rumbling controversy. Elaine and her husband Dan sailed in their car around Oahu with him, singing ballads and familiar family songs. They had a splendid time together. He had many photo opportunities with Mary who also showered him with goodies. He drank champagne and reminisced with Sam, recalling old friends and colleagues. And he had meals at Zippies with any of the above he could coerce along to his favorite lunch-time trough.
His family compiled letters of praise and gratitude from colleagues around the world. One evening Heather and Ray and I sat on the couch while Heather read the letters to Ray. He was deeply touched by the messages of loving support and appreciation for his contributions to the field of psychology.
Ray was a very strongly determined man and he did some amazing things recently.
On Christmas Eve he was in Queen’s Hospital. I spent several hours talking to him. He was so weak he could hardly sit up. He glared with cautious stubbornness at any “Junior Nursette” who attempted to cajole him into taking medication. But, he was determined to be released on Christmas day to go to the Halekulani Hotel for Christmas Brunch. It was delightful and not too surprising to see him arrive with Heather at the Halekulani on Christmas morning. He still had a plastic ID wrist band on ....and several cotton balls taped to his arms. He slowly made his way to the table and ate a full meal. It was a gorgeous day! We enjoyed it!
On the way out, Ray had to stop frequently to rest. Despite his condition, as we came to a jewelry store, he was quite intent on buying Heather a very elegant and exquisite ring for Christmas. She went into the store and pondered the dear jewel while we sat resting on a bench outside. She finally said she would come back another day........
In the last week of his life Ray had more visits from local friends, Jerry Brennan and his wife, Dianne Merritt, Nancy Hedland, Rita Knipe, Rose Tatsaguchi and her husband Tom, and his step children Gary Shields and his wife April Tanahara. April gratefully took care of Ray that week.
Heather spent time reading poetry to him in bed. Kim Ionetta had brought them a book of love poems in which she inscribed, “To Heather and Ray whose love shines bright.”
The last time I saw Ray was one week ago, the day before he died. Mumbi and I stopped by to visit. I went in his bedroom to have a talk with him while Heather and Mumbi talked in the living room. After we finished he asked for Heather. When Mumbi and Heather came in, he pulled Heather towards him and gave her a very tender loving kiss..... Mumbi and I slipped away to leave the Romeo and Juliet alone. That sweet scene is etched in my last living memory of Ray.
Heather called the next day to say that Ray was in bed observing the glistening water and the setting sun sinking behind the mountains. He was surrounded by his snuggling dogs. Later they had a light dinner of scrambled eggs and champagne. Ray drifted off to sleep next to his beloved wife and dogs. He discretely and gently stowed his sail and slipped his anchor into night’s perfect silence.
Ray had a gloriously productive life and a graciously peaceful death. We will miss Ray, our friend, colleague and father. We feel special empathy for Heather who has lost her beloved Ray. What a gift he gave all of us whose lives he touched and inspired.
Mahalo and Aloha Ray.
Suzanne M. Hammer M.D.
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