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Obituary: James Walsh III

1 November 2021 No Comment

James A. Walsh III, retired professor of psychology from the University of Montana, died August 1, 2021, of natural causes in Shelton, Washington.

James was a member of the first cohort of National Merit Scholar awardees (1956–1960), where he met his lifelong love and partner, Roberta Blake Walsh. He earned his degrees and carried out his training at the University of Washington (PhD, 1963, psychology). He was a professor of psychology and statistics at Iowa State University from 1965–1972, becoming the youngest full professor (at the time) promoted to that level by the university.

James served as chair of the psychology department at the University of Montana from 1972–1976 and continued to serve in that department until his retirement in 1999. He was a noted expert and consultant on the statistical methods underlying test construction, in particular for mental measurement and educational evaluation. He consulted broadly at state, regional, and national levels for public agencies and private industry.

Over the course of his career, James served on the editorial boards of several leading journals in his field, including Criminal Justice and Behavior, Educational and Psychological Measurement, Psychological Reports, and Perceptual and Motor Skills. He also provided review services to a host of other journals and state and federal funding agencies. He was the author of 52 journal papers and invited book chapters, 50 conference and symposium papers, and numerous invited addresses.

James was a highly regarded teacher and mentor, receiving the University of Montana Distinguished Teaching Award in 1989. He was proud that he led the faculty of the University of Montana system to unionize, protecting his peers and their students from the depredations of the state legislature.

James loved fly fishing in Montana and his family. He is survived by his wife, Roberta; their two children, Jennifer Weller and Robert Walsh; and his granddaughter, Melissa Boies.

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