Obituary: E. Harris Nober, professor emeritus of Communication Disorders

E. Harris Nober, 77, a professor emeritus of Communication Disorders who conducted key research in the use of residential smoke detectors, died May 23 of liver cancer at his home in Arlington, Va.

After serving in the Coast Guard from 1946-48, he enrolled at Brooklyn College, where he received his B.A. in speech pathology and his M.A. in audiology. He went to earn a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Ohio State University.

He taught at Adelphi University from 1957-62, then moved to Syracuse University, where he held the rank of associate professor for five years before being promoted to professor. From 1964-69, he was director of Syracuse’s audiology clinic and administrator of the school’s audiology and education for the deaf program.

In 1969, he came to Amherst as the new chairman of the Department of Communication Disorders, a post he held until 1977. During his years on the faculty, he secured federal, state and private funds to assist students in training and conducting innovative research. He provided the first clinical research on the auditory effectiveness of smoke detectors in private homes and residences for the disabled. His research, supported by the National Bureau of Standards and fire protection agencies, was instrumental in efforts to mandate smoke detectors as a protective device in homes.

He was a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and a fellow and charter member of the American Academy of Audiology. In 1993, he was chosen to present a Distinguished Faculty Lecture. In 1998, “Introduction to Communication Disorders: A Multicultural Approach,” a book he co-edited with Charlena Seymour, received a award for excellence in medical communication from the New England chapter of the American Medical Writers Association. That same year, he was given a Career Award in Hearing by the American Association of Audiology.

He retired from the faculty in 1998 and moved to Virginia.

He leaves his wife, Linda; his son, Roger, and his daughter, Jennifer, both of Chevy Chase, Md.; a sister, and five grandchildren.

Memorial gifts may be made to Development Office, c/o E. Harris Nober Scholarship Fund in Communication Disorders, Memorial Hall, 134 Hicks Way, Amherst, 01003-9270.