Published: Jan. 3, 2023

Michael Wertheimer

To all of you who attended our father Michael Wertheimer’s memorial:

First of all, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for being there with us, and sharing your diverse and wonderful reflections of a wonderful and brilliant man we were SO grateful to have as our father.

I (Benjy) also want to PROFUSELY apologize for a technical glitch which meant that the first two speakers on the video did not get recorded … we have reached out to D Brett King, Marianne Soff, and Ellen Wertheimer to see if they can share WITH US (in writing) any prepared remarks they had. 

The video of the memorial, as well as the contents of the chat (including a number of interesting links) are now in a Dropbox folder so that you can review any of them at your leisure. Here’s the link to that folder: 


As I mentioned in the Zoom Memorial, our friend Katya Grineva, a world-class concert pianist who holds the distinction of having appeared in Carnegie Hall more often than any female pianist in history, has generously offered to play a memorial concert for Michael live from my home in Portland, Oregon! 

Among his many magnificent qualities, my father Michael also had an immense social conscience, and I’m certain that he would be glad to know that this concert will also be a fundraiser for victims of the terrible earthquake in Turkey and northern Syria … we’ll be working with the NGO Mercy Corps to provide much-needed help on the ground for people who have been devastated by this catastrophic quake. 

Please feel free to join this concert even if you are unable to donate … but for those of you who feel so moved, I’ll be providing details for how to help during the Zoom call.

Here is the Zoom info for that concert: 

Katya Grineva Memorial Concert for Michael Wertheimer

Time: Feb 20, 2023 06:30 p.m. Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 835 5675 1190

Passcode: 120862

I hope you will join us if you can! My father and I both agreed that Katya was one of our favorite interpreters of Chopin ever, and what she offers from such other composers as Debussy, Satie, Schubert and more is not to be missed! 

So many thanks again for bringing your voices and perspectives together as we remember and honor our father … we will miss him TERRIBLY, but the love and community we got to share together reminds us even more poignantly of how blessed all of us were to have a connection to such a multifaceted, unique, brilliant, dedicated and very loving man …

WIth respect, love and gratitude to you all,

Benjy Wertheimer

Dear colleagues, friends, and family of Michael Wertheimer,

You are invited to a Michael Wertheimer Memorial Zoom Call on Sunday, February 12, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time, 2:00 p.m Mountain, 4:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. England.

Here is the link to join:

There is a maximum of 100 attendees, so if you plan to be there, please let us know by Sunday, February 5, using one of the addresses listed below. There is also a limit of 20 speakers, so if you would like a short (3 minutes maximum) opportunity to speak, please let us know by Sunday, February 5.

Benjy Wertheimer –
Mark Wertheimer –
K Wertheimer Watkins –

Michael Wertheimer, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience, passed away on December 23, 2022, following complications related to a fall. He was 95 years old. Born in Berlin, Michael was six when his family escaped Nazi Germany just as Hitler was rising to power. After his family immigrated to New York in 1933, Michael’s childhood was adventurous and stimulating, including frequent visits from close family friends, such as Albert Einstein and Solomon Asch.

After earning his PhD from Harvard University in 1952, Michael landed at Wesleyan University for a few years before accepting a faculty position at the University of Colorado in 1955. Initially researching cognition and psycholinguistics, he later enjoyed a well-deserved, international reputation as a leading historian of psychology. An author and editor of some 50 books, his celebrated volume on A Brief History of Psychology appeared in six editions. He also co-authored a biography of his father, Max Wertheimer, the founder of Gestalt psychology. In 2020, he published his autobiography, Facets of an Academic's Life: A Memoir.

As an award-winning educator, Michael was a lively presence in the classroom, known for impersonating prominent figures in the history of psychology. During Q&A sessions with students, his portrayals demonstrated an encyclopedic-like knowledge of the field while also showcasing his wit and acting skill. He directed the departmental undergraduate honors program for almost 40 years and was president of four divisions of the American Psychological Association as well as president of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association. It was a memorable sight to find Michael hard at work in his UCB office, surrounded by organized stacks of papers and journals towering over his desktop.

Brimming with ageless energy, Mike was a dedicated scholar as well as an accomplished musician and polyglot with a robust appreciation for outdoor activities such as mountaineering, hiking, gardening, and skiing. He shared many of these activities with his remarkable wife, Marilyn Schuman Wertheimer. Both charming storytellers, the Wertheimers enjoyed international travel as well as photography, cinema, language, history, politics, and literature among countless other passions. Michael Wertheimer is survived by his wife as well as his beloved children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

D. Brett King, PhD
Teaching Professor of Distinction