Norman Garmezy (1918-2009).

Ann S. Masten, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Margaret O Dougherty Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Norman Garmezy, a pioneer in research on risk and resilience, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 21, 2009, at the age of 91. He was a legendary mentor as well as an eminent scientist in clinical psychology. Norm was born on June 18, 1918, in New York City and grew up in the Bronx in a Jewish neighborhood where educational attainment was highly valued. The scientific study of resilience as conceived by Norman Garmezy, his peers, and students has transformed the science and practice of multiple disciplines, from the molecular level to the global ecosystem, infusing a strength-based and recovery-oriented approach into psychology, education, social work, and psychiatry. Current research on resilience ranges from studies of plasticity in brain development to effective planning for resilience in the context of disaster. Norm's influential ideas and research earned him international acclaim and many honors for lifetime achievements in science. Throughout his career, Norm held many leadership roles. Throughout his life, Norm spoke with great love about his wife of 63 years, Edie Garmezy (who died just months before him in 2009), and their children. In addition to his work and his family, Norm had three abiding passions-theater, movies, and politics. During the last two decades of his life, Norm and those who loved him endured his long decline from Alzheimer's, which slowly stole his brilliant mind and hilarious sense of humor. Nonetheless, the incredible spirit and humanity of this giant scholar continued to shine through this terrible disease. To the end of his life, Norm's face would light up with a smile as he greeted the people he loved, and he would often exclaim, "Wonderful!" Norman Garmezy was a remarkable person and scholar who left an extraordinary legacy of love and work to inspire future generations in their efforts to understand and promote the human capacity for competence and resilience. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-141
Number of pages2
JournalThe American psychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


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