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Marvin G. "Jerry" Cline

May 19, 1926 ~ July 3, 2017 (age 91)
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Obituary for Marvin Gerard “Jerry” Cline

Marvin Gerard “Jerry” Cline, 91, died on July 3rd 2017 in his home in Wolfeboro, NH. He was born to Albert and Edna Cline in NY, NY on May 19, 1926. His life was driven by an unflinching pursuit of critical intellectual inquiry, a passionate defense of the least powerful in the world, and an unwavering commitment to his family.

Raised in the Bronx, Jerry was strongly influenced by his maternal grandfather, Morris Friedman, a shopkeeper by trade and an intellectual at heart. His childhood was spent playing wall ball and ringolevio in the streets and building ham radios. As a teen he quickly became engaged in depression-era New York’s active political scene along with his sister Audrey.

In 1944 he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and thereafter served in the Navy during WWII. Officer Candidate School introduced him to the exciting scholarly life of Dartmouth College, where he became immersed in psychology, sociology and philosophy and developed an affinity for the poetry of Robert Frost (a frequent visitor to Dartmouth).

After graduating Dartmouth in 1947, he did postgraduate work at the University of California Berkeley and then Cornell University where he received his PhD in social psychology and child development in 1954. It was in his graduate program that he was introduced to Kurt Lewin and the Gestalt theorists whose systems approach remained of lasting influence.

From Cornell, he embarked on a nearly 50 year long career in academia that took him to Wells College, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Maryland, Howard University, Boston University, ABT associates, and eventually Virginia Tech where he retired in 2001. After his early work on perception theory, Jerry became interested in the process of skill acquisition among medical students, using the University of Pittsburgh's medical school as his laboratory. Soon after, he became deeply involved in policy development and evaluation, focusing on national education policy. This work culminated in a leadership role in two major studies of the Head Start early childhood program.

Jerry is remembered for his sense of humor that belied his age and delighted his children and grandchildren. One of Jerry’s greatest joys was in mentoring the next generation and witnessing the accomplishments of his grandchildren and grand niece as they grew into adulthood. For the youngest generation of grandchildren and great grandchildren his quirky and fantastical stories and letters will be cherished and recalled as a testament to a man who remained forever young of heart.

Jerry is survived by a large and loving family including his wife, Frances Bridges, his five children, Thaddeus Cline, Joshua Cline, Sarah Cline, Kara Duros, and Nathaniel Cline, his step-son, Dirk Faegre, his six grandchildren (with one more on the way), and three great grandchildren.  He is predeceased by his sister, Audrey West, his first wife, Margaret Barden Cline and his step-son, Tor Faegre. 

In lieu of a service, his family will remember and celebrate his life with a simple and small private gathering.

If you desire, donations may be made to the ACLU whose work to defend and preserve our individual rights and liberties is aligned with Jerry’s passion to protect the least powerful.  You may make donations through the ACLU website or by calling 1-888-567-ACLU. 

We ask our friends and family, to address the letters to the next generation, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, to tell them about who he was to them and memories that they have of him.  We are going to eventually print all of these out and make them into a book to share with all of the family members.

“My Last Will”

By Joe Hill

My Will is easy to decide,

For there is nothing To divide

My kin don't need to fuss and moan—

"Moss does not cling to a rolling stone"

My body?—Oh!—If I could choose

I would want to ashes it reduce,

And let The merry breezes blow

My dust to where some flowers grow


Perhaps some fading flower then

Would come to life and bloom again


This is my Last and Final Will.—

Good Luck to All of you,

Joe Hill

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