Cover photo for Michael Donald Zeiler's Obituary
Michael Donald Zeiler Profile Photo
1933 Michael 2021

Michael Donald Zeiler

October 9, 1933 — February 7, 2021

Michael Donald Zeiler, 87, passed away on Sunday February 7, 2021.

He was a distinguished professor of psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where he was appointed as a Charles Howard Candler Chair in 1984. One of his favorite classes to teach was the History of Psychology, which he continued to teach at Senior University after his retirement. At Emory, Mike created and directed the Experimental Psychology and Psychobiology Programs. He came to Emory from positions as an associate professor at the University of Iowa’s Institute of Child Behavior and Development and an assistant professor at Wellesley College, MA. He earned his B.A. from Stanford University and received his masters and doctorate from the New School for Social Research in NYC.

Mike grew up in New York, where he met his beloved wife of 67 years, Marlene. These New York transplants moved to Atlanta in 1969, where they raised four children. Born a Red Sox and Ted Williams fan, he learned to love Atlanta sports. Mike and Marlene led the family on camping trips throughout the U.S., skiing adventures, travels through Europe, and a year in London.

Mike’s talents extended well beyond teaching and research as a woodworker, carpenter, painter, car mechanic, and self-taught mathematician and computer programmer. He loved jazz, Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, fishing (though he never caught much), golf, tennis, and chess, and was an exceptionally curious reader. He played devil’s advocate with aplomb. When he turned his prodigious intellect to a project, there seemed to be nothing he could not accomplish. He loved Montana and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Mike’s eight grandchildren remember him teaching them pool, how to throw a baseball, and trips to the Varsity.

Besides Marlene, he leaves his children and their spouses: Douglas and Rachel of Seattle, WA, Thomas and Rocio of Denver, CO, Jean and Ralf of Boston, MA, and Diana and Howard of Denver, CO; grandchildren Jackson, Ella, Ryan, Madeleine, Nina, Alex, Eli and Aden; sister Elly and brother-in-law Harvey of Ann Arbor, MI; brother-in-law Jesse; nieces and nephews Erica, Judy and Max; and many friends. We will miss him. Please consider making a donation to your favorite charity in his memory.

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