06 June 2001 |

Maurine McKeany
Professor emerita Maurine McKeany, an early leader in the School of Social Welfare, died May 20 in Oakland after a long illness. She was 95.

The first to teach a course in public welfare at Berkeley in the 1930s, McKeany served as acting dean of the newly established professional school from 1944 to 1946. She retired in 1970 after a long career as a leading educator in the social services and welfare policy, particularly child welfare services.

Her 1960 monograph, “The Absent Father and Public Policy in the Program of Aid to Dependent Children,” was one of the earliest examinations of a growing social problem — abandonment of families by unemployed fathers, said Ernest Greenwood, professor emeritus of social welfare.

He said McKeany’s widely used analysis provided the academic impetus for expanding the federal Aid to Dependent Children program.

“Her work was one of the first scholarly pieces written about fathers who were abandoning their kids because they couldn’t support them,” said Greenwood, who chose the monograph as the first in a series on social welfare published by the University of California Press.

A colleague of McKeany, Greenwood described her as a “great lady, a wonderful person” who was always smiling and enthusiastic.

Born in Porterville, Calif. in 1905, McKeany was a graduate of Berkeley High School. She received a bachelor’s degree from Berkeley in economics in 1927 and earned her PhD in social service administration from the University of Chicago. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Lambda Theta scholastic honor societies.

Besides helping to guide the fledgling School of Social Welfare, McKeany also had an extensive record of public service, including two terms as a member of the State Board of Social Work Examiners.

A long-time member of the Sierra Club, she enjoyed hiking in the high mountains and once spent a month on the John Muir Trail. Following her retirement, she traveled all over the world and pursued her interests in physical activity and folk dancing.

She is survived by two cousins, Anne Clinton of Nevada City, and Jane Mason of Auburn.

There are no plans for a memorial service at this time.


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