Dr. Douglas John Kerr Mewhort
1942 - 2019
Beloved husband, father and professor, Doug passed away in Kingston on Thursday, February 28. Although his health had declined for several years, the end was mercifully quick.
Doug was the only son of Daniel and Robena Mewhort (née Kerr). Growing up in Toronto, he began to play French Horn at North Toronto Collegiate. He received his A.R.C.T. in 1960 and played professionally in Toronto and at the Stratford Festival, and later with the Kingston Symphony Orchestra.
Although he never abandoned the horn, he was lured from his first vocation by Psychology, which he claimed had "all the most interesting problems". He studied at the University of Toronto (B.A. Hon, 1964) and the University of Waterloo (M.A., 1965; PhD. 1968). Doug joined the Psychology Department of Queen's University in 1968 and was still active there as Professor Emeritus at the time of his passing.
Doug published extensively in the fields of Cognitive Psychology, Statistics, and Computational Modeling. He fought for Queen's to invest in first-class computing resources. He also contributed generously to his profession at the national and international levels. His academic honours included Fellow of The Canadian Psychological Association, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Fellow of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour & Cognitive Science (2017), and Fellow of the Psychonomic Society.
Less than a week before his final illness, Doug learned that he had won the 2019 Donald O. Hebb Distinguished Contribution Award, a lifetime achievement award given by CSBBCS. It was the academic honour he most cherished.
Doug's best thinking occurred whilst debating with colleagues and students. He cultivated his reputation for "eating undergraduates for lunch", but was never happier than when watching students focus and grow. He influenced scores of undergraduates, and he counted the many graduate students he mentored as friends.
A gentleman of the old school, Doug believed in wearing a suit and tie and preferred to write with a good fountain pen. He loved to relax by a warm fire, a cat in his lap and a glass of fine scotch in his hand, listening to Mozart while he read. Books which survived his discerning judgment were inevitably handed on to their next reader with a considered, "you might be interested in this". Warm weather drew him to the golf course, where, whatever his score, he relished the comradery on the links and at the nineteenth hole. He had a ready smile and an infectious laugh.
Above all else, he loved his family.
Doug is survived by his wife Beth (née Johns), daughter Heather, sister Hazel Lodge, and niece Laura Lodge (Mohamed Safir). He was predeceased by his sister, Lorraine Peet.
The family thank Dr. John Matthews and the staff of Kingston General Hospital for their expert and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to University Hospitals Kingston Foundation - Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario would be appreciated.
Visitation at JAMES REID FUNERAL HOME (1900 John Counter Boulevard, Kingston), on Wednesday, March 13, between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held at THE UNIVERSITY CLUB, QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY (168 Stuart Street, Kingston), on Sunday, June 2 between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 pm.