Obituary: Michael A. Cann, retired psychologist with Mental Health Services
Born in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany, he emigrated with his family in 1937 to the Netherlands after Hitler’s rise to power. In 1939 he and his mother arrived in New York where his father had found work as an electrical engineer the previous year.
After graduating from Weequahic High School in Newark, N.J., he attended Rutgers University for one semester and then enlisted in the Army. After basic training he was sent back to Germany to use his language skills in the Office of Military Government for Bavaria as part of the Allied occupation.
He attended the University of Chicago on the GI Bill, where he was part of an innovative program in which students earned a bachelor’s degree in two years and a master’s degree in an additional three. After completing his M.A., he went on to earn a doctorate in psychology from Boston University in 1961. After brief periods of employment at the University of Vermont and the Holyoke Mental Health Clinic, he joined the Mental Health Services staff in 1966, where he spent the rest of his career. He participated in summer orientation programming for parents and conducted outreach to staff in residence halls. He also worked closely with Disability Services and the Foreign Students Office. He retired from campus service in 1990.
He consulted at Goodwill Industries in Springfield one day a week for 30 years and worked at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Northampton at both ends of his professional career, 1960-62 and 1990-92.
After his retirement he participated in many Five College Learning in Retirement seminars. One of his favorites was autobiographical writing, in which he wrote an extensive memoir of his childhood and early adulthood, “An Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times,” which is in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
He leaves his wife of 61 years, Anne, of Amherst, and three children: Frederic E. Cann of Portland, Ore., Ellen Robert A. Cann of Amherst, and his daughter Elizabeth Cann, also of Amherst.
Donations may be made to the Train Collector's Association Museum and Library, P.O. Box 248, Strasburg, PA 17579, or the Massachusetts General Hospital Development Office, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, 02114, Attn: Sara Kelly for the Cancer Center.