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Frank Friedlander Obituary

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Frank Friedlander, mentor and friend, died October 1, 2015 after a brief and relatively painless illness. He felt that he had had a long and rich life, and was quite accepting that it was about to end. He was 88.

Frank was born in South Orange, New Jersey on September 22, 1927.  He was always interested in people and why they did what they did. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1950. Frank went on to earn an MBA from the University of Texas in 1956. He then went to Western Reserve University and earned his Ph.D. in Social and Organizational Psychology in 1962.

In 1954 he married Janet Mongan and they raised three children: Todd, Clare and Paul. The marriage ended in 1977. In 1996 he married Margaret Waters, who was his partner for the remainder of his life.

After leaving Western Reserve University with his Ph.D., Frank lived in Cleveland, Ohio where he began his organization development career. In 1962 the family moved to China Lake, California where he worked at the Naval Ordinance Test Center. While there, he did research on how effective teams worked together.

In the fall of 1966, Frank and the family moved back to Cleveland, Ohio where he joined the faculty of the newly begun Organizational Behavior Ph.D. program at Case Institute of Technology. It was the first program of its kind in the world. For the next 15 years, he taught, consulted, wrote and worked with students on their Ph.D. dissertations. The O.B. program was very unique at the time in that the students and faculty were considered colleagues – there was not hierarchy of faculty having all of the answers and students being in a constant learning mode – they were all colleagues in a profound learning environment. Frank fit in very well because of his values around respect, encouragement and striving for colleagueship with his fellow faculty and all of the students that he came in contact with. He “walked his talk” and was a profound role model for many he dealt with in the University and his clients.

In 1981, Frank left what is now Case Western Reserve University (the two Universities joined in 1968) to join the Faculty at the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California. For the next 19 years he was an outstanding faculty member working with students from around the world.

During his teaching career, Frank also was an active member of the Organizational Development Network and was a frequent presenter at their annual conventions. He was also a member of the National Training Laboratories where he led groups of individuals to help them identify their strengths and areas of development as leaders and human beings.

Frank was also involved in the Humanist movement, and was passionate about personal growth and development, building relationships and community, being honest with himself and others, and living a meaningful and ethical life.

Frank Friedlander was Chair of the Academy’s Organization Development and Change Division in 1977 as can be seen on the list of the division’s Past Division Chairs.

If you would like to share any memories of Frank, please post them on his Facebook page or e-mail

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