In Memoriam

Gary Klatsky


Gary Klatsky, Professor of Psychology, passed away on April 3, 2009, after a courageous battle with brain cancer. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague, Gary, a dedicated teacher, mentor, and advisor to his students.



"Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." -Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939

After being diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a particularly nasty type of brain cancer, Gary Klatsky (a devoted Yankee fan for over 50 years) often cited Gehrig's "luckiest man" speech to his family, friends, and colleagues. Despite the poor prognosis, Gary considered himself the "luckiest man on the face of the earth," in part because of his professional successes, but primarily because of his loving and devoted family--especially his beloved wife, Rhonda Mandel, his adored children, Danielle and Alex, and his dog, Neelix. He was also blessed with particularly close relationships with his sisters, Susan, Myra, and Bonnie, as well as his longtime best friends, Dave, Stu, and Sherman.

- Memorial Service program, Thursday, April 30, 2009


"Gary loved baseball. Initially a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, he transferred his baseball affections to the New York Yankees when the Dodgers "abandoned" him and moved to Los Angeles. When Gary's sister, Susan, and his wife, Rhonda, were talking with him about the eligibility criteria for the Gary Klatsky Scholarship, they asked if he wanted the scholarship limited to Yankees fans. He responded no, that would be too restrictive, but then he added that the recipient could NOT be a Red Sox fan. I'm a Red Sox fan, and over the years Gary and I had many "spirited" conversations about baseball and our respective favorite teams. (I've been assured that Gary was joking when he mentioned the Red Sox exclusion from scholarship eligibility).

One of my earliest memories of Gary dates back to his first semester at Oswego. It was warm at the beginning of the semester, and he was wearing a white, short-sleeved button-down shirt with off-white chinos. I told him that he looked like the "Good Humor" man, and I ribbed him about it all day. I kept expecting payback, but it never came. Instead, I found a note from Gary in my faculty mailbox at the end of the day, saying only: "this could have been a melted ice cream bar." That was Gary— a class act with a sense of humor who took the high road; too kind to retaliate. I'll always remember Gary's kindness and generosity.

Everyone who knew Gary knew that he loved his family beyond words and beyond measure. He certainly treasured his relationships with his other family members and close friends, but I think that Gary would say that the most important roles in his life were husband and father. It was primarily because of Rhonda, Danielle, and Alex that Gary often said that he considered himself the "luckiest man on the face of the planet." (Yet more evidence of Gary's Yankee fanaticism: quoting Lou Gehrig's "Luckiest Man" speech, delivered at Yankee Stadium July 4, 1939.)

Gary was an exceptional colleague and friend. He can never be replaced. I miss him every day."

- Pam Brand

For those who would like to make a gift In his memory, donations may be made to the Gary J. Klatsky Scholarship. Checks may be sent to the Oswego College Foundation,
Dr. Gary J. Klatsky Scholarship, 219 Sheldon Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126.