Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies™

Don Pumroy, An Inspirational Life

Donald K. Pumroy, Ph.D., ABPP (CL), passed away at his home in Hyattsville, Md., on Sunday, June 1, 2014.  Don was a member of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and also a member of ABAI for more than 30 years, and had presented at the 2014 Chicago conference exactly one week before his death.  Always active in behavior analysis, he had presented at seven of the most recent eight ABAI conferences. The focus of his final presentation was on the problem of school gun violence, a topic that reflected Don’s interest in the application of behavior analysis to problems within the broad culture.  He returned home from the meeting and had already begun work on a paper about the topic, at the time of his death. An overview of Don’s pioneering work in psychology and behavior was presented at this year’s ABAI meeting in San Antonio and is available on behavior.org.

Don was active in other organizations as well.  He served as president of MPA from 1962-1963, and was an MPA member for 58 years.  He also was a member of MSPA. Don Held the distinction of having served as president of both the Maryland Psychological Association and the Maryland Association of School Psychologists.  He is the only individual to have done so.  He served as a member, then chair, of the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Dr. Pumroy received his Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of Washington and was first licensed to practice psychology in 1958.  He was Professor Emeritus from the College of Education and Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he served as the Director of the nationally recognized School Psychology Program.  Don had engaged in private practice since 1972 at the Hyattsville area Associates for Behavior Change where he continued to work following retirement from his academic position.  In 1996, Don divided his time between that practice and the Northern Neck of Virginia where he was also licensed. Additionally, he had consulted at the Northumberland (Virginia) Psychological Center and worked with the Northumberland County school system, and the Northumberland Chamber of Commerce. Prior to Don’s passing, the Northumberland Chamber of Commerce had plans to present a citation to Don for his outstanding service as a member of the Board of Directors and Chairperson of the Chamber’s Education Committee, where he created a program and established a Scholarship Program to help Northumberland County High School Students and to connect them with the business world as they prepared to move on after High School.

Don was well known for his broad range of knowledge and expertise and thus was asked to explain the relationship between disaster and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for a federal agency.  Another important contribution was that Don organized the College Park Behavioral Group as a means to foster behavioral research and writing. This Group has continued for over 30 years.   Besides holding a clinical diplomate, Don was a member of APA and the National Register. He was a veteran of the U.S. military and served in two wars.  His wife Shirley, also of Hyattsville, passed away in 2001.  Don is survived by three children, grandchildren, and his companion Dr. Judy Blumenthal.

Don Pumroy is fondly remembered by many friends and colleagues at ABAI, MPA and MSPA and MABA, the University of Maryland, his consulting connections, the Hyattsville group and all who knew him.  He was a person of intellect, hard work, thoughtfulness, humanity, humor and good cheer. He will be missed.