Deceased September 26, 2016

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In Memory

I heard of Bob Erard before we started at Amherst. A high school classmate from Reston, Va., recognized his name on the material the College sent us. Her comment was, “This guy is an absolute genius!”—the subtext being that if we were both going to this place, one of us was going to the wrong college.

There has been nothing since to prove her wrong. Bob graduated summa cum laude. Steve Pastan ’77 commented, “Bob and I used to drive together from the Washington, D.C., area to Amherst. … I remember seven hours of nonstop conversation on topics ranging from the hard-core philosophical to inane popular culture. He was the best-educated person I ever met, starting with his Jesuit education in high school. His mind could maintain a dizzying number of contradictory opinions at the same time—Barb ’77, his wife, was the only person who could go the distance in the ring with him.”

After Amherst, Bob got a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan and stayed in the area, becoming a leader in both state and national clinical psychology associations. He also became active in a local theater troupe, appearing in a production of Titanic. Combining both skills, he apparently sang a presentation at a national psychological association meeting. His erudition (Erardition?) was demonstrated in this notes submission:

“But I just discovered that, in the 1953 movie Titanic, Robert Wagner and friends sing a rousing version of ‘Lord Jeffery Amherst’ (sadly, pronouncing the ‘h’). I gather that I am not the first to notice this, but can it be merely a coincidence that they are singing ‘Yard by Yard’ (Williams’ fight song: “Yard by yard we’ll fight our way thro’ Amherst's line”) as the ship hits the iceberg?”

Our thoughts are with his sons Matt and Nicholas, with Barb and with all of us who will miss him.

Gerry Brown ’77