March 31, 2014

Psychology education pioneer passes

It is with great sadness and fond memories that the Loma Linda University School of Behavioral Health announces the passing of Dr. Peter Strutz--colleague, mentor, academic and friend.

Dr. Strutz was well known for his role at Loma Linda University, Riverside--now La Sierra University--where he served as chair of the department of psychology for 17 years, beginning in 1965. In an era when "things psychological were not popular and often suspect," he developed the first psychology major and the first department of psychology in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system.

As a further enrichment to his understanding of the behavioral health sciences, Dr. Strutz also became a California-licensed marriage and family therapist in 1968. He invested tremendous time and effort to begin a master's degree program in family therapy, a program which later became a graduate department and transferred to Loma Linda University's Loma Linda campus.

In 1993, although retired, Dr. Strutz advocated and engaged local professionals and faculty to work with Loma Linda University to found the master's degree program in social work. One year later, he would use this same talent for advocacy and networking to spark the development of the department of psychology at Loma Linda University.

Dr. Strutz had been recuperating successfully from an angioplasty procedure for aortic valve stenosis. He died unexpectedly March 21 near his home in Fallbrook, Calif., after a short walk.

Dr. Strutz is survived by his children Judy Strutz-Vanderwerff, D.D.S. and her husband, Jon Vanderwerff, Ph.D.; Peter D. Strutz, M.D. and his wife, Jenni Strutz; grandchildren Jack, Catherine and Annie; and siblings Walter Strutz, M.D., and Mary Rowland.

A memorial service for Dr. Peter Strutz will be held at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 6, in the Loma Linda University Church sanctuary, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall.

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