Remembering Charlie Deupree, NASP's 33rd President
By Tom Fagan
Volume 51 Issue 6, pp. 26–27
Charles Redwood Deupree was born on December 11, 1950, in Cincinnati, OH and died after a brief and brave bout with cancer in Muskegon, MI on January 25, 2023, at age 72. His parents were James and Mary Deupree, who divorced when Charlie was age 8. His father worked for Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, and his mother was a homemaker who liked the term “household engineer.” Charlie attended Lotspeich Elementary School (Grades 1–6), Cincinnati Country Day School (Grades 7–10), and in 1969 graduated from Wooster School in Danbury, CT (Grades 11–12), where he played football and hockey, managed to sneak his car on campus, and participated in and was on the receiving end of legendary classmate pranks. He always bragged he graduated in the top 25 of his class (in a class of 25 students). He received his BA degree in education from the University of Denver (1969–1973), his MA in psychology at Western Michigan University (1973–1974) for temporary approval as a school psychologist, and then studied at Western Michigan University and Michigan State University (1974–1976) to receive full approval. During college he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and held “Life Loyal Sigma Chi” status.
Employment and Leadership
Charlie worked as a school psychologist for the Ionia County Intermediate School District and Ionia Public Schools in Michigan from 1974 until his retirement in 2005. In retirement he established Tree House Consulting LLC, which provided consultation in school psychology and social work. Charlie was first listed as a NASP member in the 1980 directory. In addition, he was affiliated with the National and Michigan Educational Associations. He was a long-time member of the Michigan Association of School Psychologists, serving as its president in 1981–1982. He served in many capacities for NASP including Michigan delegate (1982–1986), regional director (1996–1999), and president (2001–2002). During his presidency, membership grew to 22,546; the NASP budget jumped to $4,509,747; convention attendance set a record at 4,397; and perhaps most memorable, the attack in September of 2001 occurred early in his term of office. Charlie weathered the subsequent challenges NASP dealt with through special publications, advice to schools, and NASP meetings and a convention under revised air travel security.
He worked in the startup years with NASP's Computer and Technological Applications in School Psychology special interest group and the Assistance to States Committee, which I recall as being among the most effective outreach efforts of the governance at the time. He served for several years as Nominations and Elections chair, facilitating the implementation of the online voting process, and as Membership chair (2003–2005), and on the Operations Handbook Revisions Workgroup (2007–2008). Charlie received presidential awards from Susan Safranski, Alex Thomas, and the late Carl DiMartino (who served as Treasurer during Charlie's presidency). In 2015, Charlie graciously and effectively replaced me as organizer of the NASP past-presidents roast held during the annual convention. Charlie was credentialed as a teacher and school psychologist in Michigan and held a limited licensed psychologist credential in Michigan, where he also was a licensed social worker. He held the NCSP since its inception in 1989.
Family, Interests and Avocations, Personal Perspectives
He is survived by his long-time love, Sal Adama, his daughters Sally Deupree and Kate (Scott) Evans, his four grandchildren, sister Margot Deupree Taylor, brother Steve (Cynthia) Deupree, six nieces and nephews, 13 great-nieces and nephews, and his sweet pets, Sebastian and Nigel. His two daughters were by his former spouse, Barbara Warhover: Sally Deupree is a project manager for an adventure travel firm, and Kate Deupree is an interior designer for her own Kate Deupree Studio. A picture of his daughters and his close friend appeared in the May 2002 Communiqué (p. 2) which carried a picture of “Charlie's Angels.” The President's Messages that appeared in each Communiqué issue published in the 2001–2002 volume year might also offer interesting insight into Charlie's presidential term.
His avocations and hobbies included golf, boating, skiing, traveling, and photography. His obituary describes his passion for these activities and his leadership in promoting them. Regarding his most important contributions, at his 2010 roast, Charlie said:
Most might think my most valuable contribution has been my leadership and attention to detail, but for me my involvement with NASP changed my life as a school psychologist. The opportunity to work alongside so many great leaders and experts allowed me to change the way I applied my skills in the schools, and I have worked hard to impart what I have learned to other school psychologists in hopes that they too can change and broaden their role as change agents. My presidential theme of “overcoming barriers” allowed me to spread the word, and hopefully someone was listening and made changes for themselves and their districts.
The family thanks the nurses at both Trinity Hospital in Muskegon, MI and Harbor Hospice for treating Charlie with such kindness and dignity. A celebration of life will be held this summer, and more details will be provided as they develop. The family welcomes donations in Charlie's name to the White Lake Junior Golf Foundation (501c3) or your local public school district foundation. If you'd like to donate to the Golf Foundation, please make checks out to the foundation and mail to the White Lake Golf Club, 6777 South Shore Drive, Whitehall, MI 49461.
Tom Fagan: I knew Charlie at least back to the early 1980s and, although I have written numerous leadership tributes, I never thought at age 80 I would have the honor of paying tribute to him. He was a fun and effective leader. Big smile, big laugh, great sense of humor. He was easily the largest NASP president, and I often got him confused with the big ranch hand Hoss (Dan Blocker) on TV's Bonanza, or Merlin Olsen with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. A towering and gentle person.
Alex Thomas: With birth of NASP pegged at 1968, Charlie helped develop the organization from NASP's later preteen years through mature adulthood (approximately 1970 through 2015). No one can forget his raucous laughter, zest for life, devotion to hard work, love of his family, and professional commitment. (January 28, 2023)
Kathy Minke: Charlie was an outstanding leader, a kind and gentle mentor, and a great friend. He continued to provide service to NASP as a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee through the recently concluded election cycle. His deep knowledge of NASP's history and policies was an amazing asset that will not be easily replaced. He will be greatly missed. (January 28, 2023)
Sharon Petty: I keep seeing Charlie dancing the chicken with Betty Burkey. Charlie was light on his feet, a great tennis player. He called me granny. I don't know if his friend Ted Ridder is around; they worked together for a long time. He loved Rosemary (O'Donnell) and Susan (Gorin). (January 29, 2023)
Dave Peterson: I was fortunate to become friends and a professional colleague of Charlie's through our service together on the NASP Board of Directors and numerous committees, as well as through some strategic planning he enlisted Mike Curtis and I to do with the Michigan Association of School Psychologists. Charlie was a larger-than-life personality (as well a big man!) who approached everything he did with good humor, a booming voice, and a “we can do this” attitude that inspired those around him. He lived his professional and personal life with gusto, knew how to party until the wee hours, and was kind and respectful of everyone he met. He leaves us all with incredible memories and a legacy of leadership that most can only aspire to. Fair winds, my friend.
Kevin Dwyer: He contributed in so many ways to school psychology through direct service and volunteer leadership, mentoring many. Charlie took over Government and Professional Relations Committee leadership, and within a short period of time was communicating NASP's leadership in our role to Congressional staff for more funding for counseling, school psychology, and social work. He actively coordinated with groups including the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. He kept our members connected with their representatives and was instrumental in the development of the letter writing process that continues today in its computerized structure. When Charlie took on a project, it guaranteed success. (January 30, 2023)
Bill Pfohl: Charlie was NASP through and through. He always had a passion for being involved with NASP. His big hearty laugh was memorable. He worked hard … and played hard. A diehard bone fisherman! He loved it! Will be missed for sure.
Rhonda Armistead: When Charlie became NASP president in 2001, he was one of just a few presidents who had been practicing school psychologists. He understood the fundamentals of the profession and the daily needs of its practitioners because he was one. He also understood the importance of NASP's role in supporting state associations because he had been so involved in his own state association and he realized state leaders were vital to our professional longevity. During his tenure as president, Charlie prioritized NASP's strategic planning and assistance to states. He led a strategic planning summit in Denver—the first face to face occasion in which NASP had ever asked constituent groups, including parents, their opinion of school psychologists. These initiatives continue today as mainstays of NASP operations. Personally, Charlie was kind and unpretentious—a person who rarely saw anyone he encountered as a stranger. He was comfortable with the least of us, especially preschoolers with whom he preferred working. One of Charlie's funniest stories was his describing his own student observations in preschool classrooms: sitting in those miniature chairs, just trying to blend in. I will cherish our 35+ years of friendship and the cheers he added to my life! (January 30, 2023)