Joan Erikson, human development expert

Published Aug. 9, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

Joan Erikson, who helped refine the prevailing psychological view of human development through a six-decade collaboration with her husband, Erik Erikson, died Sunday. She was 95.

Officially it was her husband, a Harvard University professor, who theorized that life could be divided into eight distinct stages of psychosocial development.

But he repeatedly credited his wife with helping work out the details of their theory, which broadened Freud's biology-based stages to embrace social context and extend the cycles into adulthood.

After his death in 1994, she continued their work, using his notes and her own ideas to add a ninth developmental stage.

When her husband took a job in 1951 treating severely disturbed children and young adults at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Mass., Mrs. Erikson became its director of activities.

At a time when occupational therapy was little more than a euphemism for keeping patients busy on useless tasks, Mrs. Erikson, who had a knack for finding and encouraging the point of strength in a troubled person, brought in painters, sculptors, dancers, weavers, potters and others to create a program that provided real therapy.

The work led to her 1976 book, Activity, Recovery and Growth. She also wrote The Universal Bead and Wisdom and the Senses.

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LESTER W. PULLEN, 68, chairman and chief executive officer of R.J. Reynolds International from 1986 to 1989, died July 30 in Winston-Salem, N.C. No cause of death was given. Under his direction, R.J. Reynolds International, one of the world's largest tobacco companies, marketed more than 60 cigarette brands in 160 countries and territories. He was instrumental in negotiating an agreement with the Chinese government to manufacture Camel cigarettes in Xiamen, making them the first American cigarette brand manufactured in China.

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CHARLIE EVANS, 89, a Buffalo Bill look-alike who spent nearly 35 years portraying the famous Old West personality, died Tuesday in North Platte, Neb. Wearing his Buffalo Bill gear, Mr. Evans appeared on the Nebraska highway map, the cover of telephone books and in national commercials. He was first recruited to play the role of William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody in 1963 for the Fort McPherson Centennial pageant. The following year, he appeared as Buffalo Bill at North Platte High School football games. Soon he was appearing at county fairs, and at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo. As a child, Mr. Evans saw "Buffalo Bill" Cody in a Wild West performance and met the showman.

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