Campus & Community

Senior Lecturer in Psychology Douwe Yntema Dies

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Douwe B. Yntema, a retired senior lecturer in the Psychology Department, died suddenly Feb. 13, in his home in Cambridge. He was 74.

Yntema graduated from Swarthmore in 1949, followed by a year’s language study in France and Austria. He earned a doctorate in experimental psychology from Harvard in 1955.

He joined the Harvard faculty in 1968 as a lecturer on psychology and a fellow of the Computer Center. In 1975, he became a senior lecturer in psychology and retained that title until his retirement in 1995.

Yntema’s course in multivariate analysis served as an introduction to the use of statistics and methodology in the social sciences for generations of first-year graduate students. He was also a regular participant in the “stat lunch,” a group of experts in statistics that met every Thursday to discuss methodological problems encountered by faculty and graduate students.

Before coming to Harvard, Yntema was a group leader at M.I.T.’s Lincoln Laboratory and then director of the Cambridge Project, a joint Harvard-M.I.T. think tank.

During World War II, he was a fighter pilot on small carriers in the Pacific Theater, and later joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, attaining the rank of major. In this capacity, he had the chance to fly jets, and to realize his long-held ambition of breaking the sound barrier.

He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the Mayflower Society, the Harvard Square Defense Fund, and Community Boating Inc., where he served for several years as president.

Yntema is survived by his wife, Esther P. (Shiverick) Yntema; his mother, Margaret Jean (Busey) Yntema of Springfield, Ill.; his daughters, Elizabeth Ferguson of Winnetka, Ill. and Mary P. Yntema of Moscow, Russia; his brother, George B. Yntema; and his sister, Mary K. Yntema. He is also survived by three grandchildren.

A memorial service was held March 1 in the Memorial Church. Donations in Mr. Yntema’s memory may be made to the Brazelton Foundation, 4031 University Drive, No. 200, Fairfax, VA 22030.