29 August 2001 |

Millie Almy
Millie Almy, a pioneering researcher in early childhood education and a professor emerita in the Graduate School of Education, died Aug. 15, in her Berkeley home. She was 86.
Almy helped pioneer child development as a science on which to base early childhood education, dramatically departing from traditional views of the preschool or nursery as an institution for the physical care of children. She also was in the forefront of research establishing child’s play as important and essential to healthy development.

Dorothy Stewart, a former student of Almy’s at the Graduate School of Education, said Almy told students that early childhood education was seen in its early days as likely to reach a par with pediatric medicine.

Although that never happened, Stewart said, the warmth of childcare practitioners, as well as the intellectual challenge of its academic research, still lured Almy.
A native of Clymer, N.Y., Almy’s family suffered during the Depression, and her father lost their farm. She won a scholarship to attend Vassar College and earned her B.A. there in 1936. Almy received her master’s degree in 1945 and her PhD in 1948, both from Teachers College at Columbia University.

Almy served as head of the University of Cincinnati Department of Child Development and Family Life and taught at the University of Illinois College of Education. She also taught at Columbia’s Teachers College from 1944 to 1948 and from 1952 to 1971.

She became a professor at Berkeley in 1971 and stayed until 1980, also serving as a graduate adviser.

Almy served as president of the National Association of Nursery Educators and as delegate to the Mid-Century White House Conference on Children.

After retiring, she was active in the early childhood education professional community.

A memorial service is being planned.

Kurt Spiegler
Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus Kurt Spiegler died in his home in El Cerrito on May 17. He was 80.

An expert in the field of desalination, Speigler joined the Berkeley faculty in 1964, and retired in 1978.

Spiegel earned both a Master’s and Ph.D. in chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He began his research on making fresh water out of salt water at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel and continued at MIT and eventually at the Sea-Water Conversion Laboratory at Berkeley.

Before coming to campus, Speigler worked for the Gulf Research and Development Company from 1953 to 1959. He then returned to Israel, where he taught and headed the Inorganic and General Chemistry Department at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa until 1962, when he moved back to the United States to be a project scientist at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

A widely published author and co-author, Speigler wrote two books on desalinization, which are considered classics. In 1995, Speigler received an Achievement Award from the International Desalination Association for his “profound influence on the science and engineering of desalination.”

Speigler is survived by his wife, Annie; his son David Spiegler of Wayne, New Jersey; a daughter, Ann-giselle Plamer of Los Angeles; his step-daughter, Cindy Madill and her husband Peter of Sebastopol; his brother, Walter Spiegler of Kegworth, England; and his step-grandsons, Samuel and Benjamin Madill. A service was held this summer in Richmond.


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