Obituary: Leighton Whitaker, Former Director of Mental Health Services

Leighton Whitaker
Leighton Whitaker

Leighton C. (Lee) Whitaker Jr., 86, of Media, Pennsylvania, former director of mental health services, died May 10.

Born Feb. 8, 1932 in in Chester, Pennsylvania, he joined UMass Amherst in 1973 as director of mental health services at University Health Services (UHS). He became a staff administrator at UHS in 1978 and retired in 1980. In 1973-74 he also served as a professor of psychology.

After a career serving mental health needs as an educator, author and therapist and working as an editor of numerous mental health journals, he continued his private practice into his 80s.

His 90 professional publications address clinical and social subjects, including college-student suicide, schizophrenia (he developed the WIST, Whitaker Index of Schizophrenic Thinking), and understanding and preventing violence.

He is survived by his wife Suzanne and their three children, Corinne, Priscilla and Benjamin.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages a gift to a charity of your choice, support for a dog-rescue or therapy-dog organization, or a gesture to reduce violence in the world.