Richard “Doc” Wiseman, PhD, Child Psychologist, one of the pioneers of modern mental health treatment for children and author of Riverview Hospital for Children and Youth, passed away at age 89 on August 4th 2018.
He was the son of late Gladys and C. Henry Wiseman and son-in-law of the late Gladys and C. Raymond Ganung. Born in New York City in 1928, he lived in North Arlington, NJ. He received degrees from Springfield College and Michigan State University, where he made lifelong friends. He served two years in the Air Force during the Korean War and was inducted into two Hall of Fames for his athletic accomplishments.
Dr. Wiseman was founder and first superintendent of Riverview Hospital for Children. “Doc” was the first in Connecticut to argue that autism was a developmental, not psychiatric, disorder. His work was an important factor in the State of Connecticut’s decision to shift the care of children with autism from mental hospitals to the Department of Development Services. He and his wife were house parents at Children’s Village and foster parents. He built and was Director of Camp Quinebaug, a camp for patients from state mental hospitals in collaboration with college student helpers from the CT Service Corps. He was a past member of the Portland Exchange Club, The Brownstone Quorum and a Corporate Board Member of Middlesex Hospital. “Doc” was an Advisor to Wesleyan students who created Gilead House and recently honored for all his work in mental health at their 50th anniversary. After retirement, he developed Community Collaboratives for families who had children with emotional and behavioral needs, which kept them from needing hospitalization, by providing free services from local child agencies, using grants.
He cherished his loving family, Eunice Ganung Wiseman, wife of 63 years, son Ken (Betty Lou) Wiseman, daughter Lauren (Arthur) Sullivan. Grandchildren Justin Wiseman, Eric (Mary) Wiseman, Sara (Daniel) Roy, Jared Slingerland. Great grandchildren Connor, Brooke-Lyn and Noelle. Step-grandchildren Ryan Sullivan and Sara Sullivan. Families of the late Donald (Bonnie) Wiseman, Laurence Ganung, George Ganung and James (Beth) Marshall. Siblings and families of Betty (Ray) Townley, Roger (Barbara) Wiseman, and his many Canadian relatives.
His extended family included many friends and staff who stayed close to him throughout his life and showed their love and respect for his mission in life. His home was always open to those in need, especially Jim, Sue and Steve. He loved sharing the family cottage with his family, friends and colleagues. The Friday Night Group were treasured friends as were the Donlons, Barlows, his colleague Dr. Lou Ando and loyal Assistant Jackie Reardon. He lived in Portland for 50 years before moving to Covenant Village of Cromwell in 2010 where he enjoyed the companionship of new friends and helped start a CVOC Community Partnership with Middlesex Community College. He continued his passion for Children’s Mental Health and Autism and mentored students from Cromwell High School, who came twice weekly to assist him. He leaves a legacy of being a longtime advocate for bringing people together to work for the good of children and showing families and students the importance of passion, tolerance, community and work ethic.
The family is grateful to Dr. Pascale, Dr. O'Donoghue, the Pilgrim Manor staff and the Hospice team, who took great care of him. The family is also grateful to his many visitors from all paths of his life who came to honor him.
Calling hours will be held at The Cromwell Funeral Home, 506 Main St. Cromwell, CT on Monday, August 13th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. A memorial service will be held at the Portland Congregational Church, 554 Main St. Portland, CT. on Tuesday, August 14th at 11:00am. Burial will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gilead Community Services, Inc. P.O. Box 1000, Middletown, CT 06457 attn: Lucy McMillan. To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit www.doolittlefuneralservice.com.