PORTLAND - Longtime University of Southern Maine psychology professor, William F. Gayton, Ph.D., of Portland [Maine] died Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, at Maine Medical Center, from complications due to a stroke he suffered days earlier. He was 77.
Professor Emeritus Bill Gayton, or "Gayton" as he was known to friends, retired in August from the University of Southern Maine after 44 years, many of which were spent serving as chair of the department of Psychology.
Gayton was born, March 20, 1940, in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, to John and Kathleen (née Greenlaw) Gayton. Gayton's family moved to Maine when he was a child. He was a graduate of Fort Fairfield High School.
Gayton received a B.S. in psychology from Springfield College (MA) in 1963, then continued the study of psychology at the University of Maine at Orono, earning a Masters in 1965 and a Ph.D. in 1968.
Gayton built a national reputation as a sports psychologist having served in this capacity for the Boston Bruins' farm team-the Maine Mariners-from 1989-1994. Gayton was equally renowned as an academic researcher and valued as an educator, having taught thousands of aspirant psychologists beginning in the early 1970s through his retirement last summer.
Gayton's national reputation was solidified, and his extensive network of psychologists expanded, as he began hosting a decades-long series of psychology-related symposia, or Institutes as they came to be known, in childhood psychopathology, heath psychology, adult psychopathology and sport psychology.
In his work at Saint Paul, Minnesota's Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, Gayton was a member of the team that developed the MMPI, a standardized psychometric test of adult personality disorders, still widely in use today.
An avid marathoner and ultramarathoner, Gayton was a founding member of the Maine Rowdie Running Club, a host of dozens of running events, including 50-mile, 100-mile, and 24-hour races.
But it was Gayton's commitment to students that became that of legend on the USM campus. Gayton served as doctoral sponsor and professional and personal mentor to hundreds. At the time of his death, several former students and colleagues were at his side.
Gayton is survived by two daughters, Susan Gayton and Michelle Gayton both of Brunswick, and two former wives, Carolyn Gayton of Brunswick and Vicki Gayton of Portland.
There will be a celebration of life service on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 at 2 p.m. at the Wishcamper Center at USM, 1 Bedford Street, Portland, ME. A reception will follow.
Service can be viewed via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWatxnHJ8NQ
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
William Gayton Scholarship Fund
449 Forest Ave.
Portland, ME 04101