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Ralph R. Canter

Ralph Canter died in early March 2002, just 1 month short of his 81st birthday. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, received his BA from Depauw in 1943, and his MA and PhD from Ohio State in 1947 and 1949, respectively. Ralph and his wife Marge were enthusiastic people about life, golf, travel, and friends. 

He was on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, from 19491955, where he worked with Ed Ghiselli. From there, he went to Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, then to the Systems Development Corporation, where he served as director of Personnel and director of the Washington office from 19581968. At that point, the Department of Defense called on him to direct manpower research, which he did from 19681974. Then he moved to the Army Research Institute as chief of Manpower and Personnel Research. In that role, as in earlier ones, he was an innovator and sponsored research that contributed both to the discipline and to the country. For example, he was instrumental in research on military selection devices and sponsored research on biodata that predicted which recruits would complete basic training and 180 days of active service. His colleagues found him receptive to innovative ideas and were encouraged by his understanding support.

In 1974, he moved to Fort Harrison, Indiana, as head of the science office there. He was an adjunct professor of psychology at Purdue University, Indianapolis, and also acted as a consultant for a few years before his retirement in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Ralph was a Fellow of APA and SIOP, and a member of the Dearborn Group, Human Factors Society, AAAS, and the Retired Executives Corps. 

He leaves his wife Marge, two sons, James and Philip, and grandchildren. Those of us who knew him found him a bright, supportive, and innovative colleague. There are many who are known because he supported their ideas and work, without taking any credit to himself. We and the discipline will miss him.

Paul W. Thayer 
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
North Carolina State University


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