Deceased April 20, 2013

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In Memory

Last April Jim Hansell, a dedicated husband, father, son, brother, and our dear friend, passed away.

Jimmy came to Amherst from Shaker Heights. He roomed freshman year in North with Dan Frank '78. Our freshman friendships endured: The five of us had gathered to share one summer weekend for each of the last 15 years. The tradition continues, but without Jim it can never be the same.

Jim played soccer, majored in philosophy, and was active in a protest that put his enrollment at risk, against apartheid in South Africa.

He was funny. In a flash he could crack a joke that made us think and made us love life anew. 

Though admitted to Yale Law School, Jim chose to become a psychologist and psychoanalyst. A longtime professor of psychology at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, training and supervising analyst, and president of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Association, Jim had moved recently to George Washington University in Washington, D.C. After only a year's work there, his legacy brought forth an outpouring of respect at a memorial service held at GWU in May. 

He loved music. He played lead guitar in several bands. Like his jokes, his guitar play seized upon a melody and made it ring in a dozen different ways.

He bore his illness with courage. As an athlete and an avid sports fan (we suspected him of pure self-interest in offering seminars in sports and psychoanalysis), when Jim began to suffer from amyloidosis, he embraced a grueling and risky stem-cell treatment instead of resigning himself to progressive debilitation.

Jim is survived by his wife, Andy Goodman Hansell; daughter Julie ’10; son Adam; brother David; sister Linda; and father, Herb Hansell of Washington, D.C. We carry his spirit forward however we can.

Paul Erb '78, Dan Frank '78, Andy Grunebaum '78 and Mike Pratt '78