Donald Eugene Mowrer - 1929-2018

Donald Eugene Mowrer, age 88, died peacefully in his sleep on January 23rd, 2018 in Phoenix, AZ. He was born in 1929 to Ralph and Pearl Mowrer in Wooster, Ohio, and grew up on a family farm in rural Ohio along with his brother Richard William Mowrer (ed.JAK 1927-1965). He was interested in theater and dance in high school, and was a member of the local church choir. After graduating from Wooster College, he attended Florida State University where he received a Master's Degree in Speech Pathology. It was there he also met the girl of his dreams, Yvette Monnet (ed. JAK 1924-2008), who was also studying at FSU as an exchange student from France. They married in the summer of 1953 (ed. JAK Aug 19 in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France) after Don graduated from FSU. After spending a couple of years in Wooster and a year in Moultrie, Georgia, they finally settled in their home in Phoenix, AZ. Don received a PhD in Education at Arizona State University and he was later employed as Associate Professor of Speech Pathology at ASU, where he became known as an expert in his field, authoring a number of books and journal articles in the field of speech therapy and speech disorders.

Upon retirement he and Yvette travelled the globe visiting foreign countries and spent the winter months in their trailer parked on the beach in Mazatlán, Mexico. Don is survived by his five children (ed. JAK - Jacques, Alan, Patrick, Christine, and Suzanne) and seven grandchildren. He was a devoted father who enjoyed taking his children on trips to Europe and to visit the National Parks in the western US. His hobbies included fixing bicycles, motorcycles, and cars, building and flying model airplanes, and drawing and painting. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, his curiosity about the world around him and human behavior, and his kindness and generosity towards others. Funeral services will be at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, on Saturday, January 27th, at 2:00 P.M. with burial to follow at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery.

Published on the Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home site, in The Arizona Republic from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27, 2018 and online at and adapted here with gratitude

Some personal memories - Judy Kuster

  • Dr. Robert Brooks who had taught the stuttering courses (and supervised therapy for clients in our university clinic who stuttered) at the Mankato State University department for many years retired. I was slated to teach all the stuttering courses at MSU, Mankato, and take over clinical supervision of students working with clients who stuttered starting from 1987-2010. I had already discovered and signed onto three "listservs" where moderators from each one (Bob Quesal - Stut-hlp, Woody Starkweather Stutt-L, and Don Mowrer Stutt-X all became good friends and wonderful support to me as I developed new courses. I started an interesting running dialog with Don Mowrer after posting a question on Stutt-X about an "R-avoider" a very bright high school student who did not stutter but had never mastered the "r" sounds, was embarrassed about it, avoided all "r" sounds in his speech and refused to read aloud since he couldn't control the author's use of r-sounds. We corresponded for several years, and when he learned I was developing a course in stuttering, Mowrer sent me his Syllabuslast updated in 1994. It reflects a somewhat unconventional teaching style, but also reflects his love for learning, for teaching, and for his students.

  • Mowrer, Donald Eugene is listed on the ASU website as Professor Emeritus of Speech and Hearing Science; B.A., M.A., Florida State University; Ph.D., Arizona State University where he taught in the department of Speech & Hearing Science at Arizona State University from 1964 to 1999. He also taught at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College 1993. In personal correspondence with me he related that he refused tenure status because he didn't believe in tenure - that if a professor was no longer productive or able to teach, he shouldn't automatically be given or retain a position. Years after his death, in 2019 a former student posted on his obituary page "I just heard about Dr. Don's death. I was a speech therapy student at ASU in the late 60's. Dr. Don made a life-long lasting impression on me . He was a brilliant and inspiring person."

  • I only saw Don Mowrer once because of a chance meeting at an ASHA convention. I cannot remember which convention, but a person was in a long, quiet hall trying to check a computer where all conference attendees were listed. I had stopped to look up someone, too. As we exchanged greetings I mentioned I was going to check if Don Mowrer was at the convention - I wanted to meet him. He responded "You just did! but won't find him in that computer! Who are you?" We then continued a friendly interchange and I asked him how long he'd be staying. He told me he was a walk-on for one day and I probably shouldn't share this but Don said that was only at the convention for that say, without registering!

    Some Professional Contributions

    Journal Articles, Presentations, Grants

    Donald Mowrer was a man of times - clinically a true behaviorist in the 1960's and 70's. He was also a Renaissance Man when it came to technology, using what was available and adapted it clinically. He developed programs to include parents in the therapeutic process, he developed a cassette training program for clinicians and students, and he was among the first to develop online support opportunities for professionals and people who stutter and their teachers and parents with his listserv - stutt-x. I only wish the ASU had maintained the archives of the discussion on that mailing list (an others) so it could be read. Such is the way of a lot of online information and computer generated material that can no longer be accessed.

    Mowrer, Donald E. The Relative Frequency of Misarticulations of [unvoiced Th Symbol] and [voiced Th Symbol] in the Initial, Medial, and Final Positions Produced by Children in Grades One, Two, and Three, published by Florida State University, 64 pages. (1953)

    MOWRER, D. E., An experimental analysis of variables controlling lisping responses of children. Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State Univ. (1964).

    MOWRER, D. E., BAKER, R. L., and SCHUTZ R. E., Modification of the Frontal Lisp Programmed Articulation Control Kit. Tempe, Arizona: Educ. Psychol. Res. Assoc. (1968).

    MOWRER, D. E., and BAKER, R. L., Management of consequent events in speech therapy. Paper presented at the Annual Convention, American Speech and Hearing Assn., Denver (November 1968).

    MOWRER, D. E., BAKER, R. L., and OWEN, C., Verbal content analysis of speech therapy sessions. Paper presented at the Annual Convention, American Speech and Hearing Assn., Denver (November, 1968).

    MOWRER, D. E., and RYAN, B., Visual discrimination of the phoneme /a~/. University Grants-In-Aid Project, Ariz. State Univ. (1968).

    MOWRER, D.E. Evaluating Speech Therapy Through Precision Recording, Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders Forum 1 Aug 1969

    MOWRER, D.E. Transfer of Training in Articulation Therapy. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, Forum - Volume 36 Issue 4 November 1971 Pages: 427-446.
    This article cited Mowrer, Baker, and Schutz (1968) - "devised an instructional training manual for parents of lisping children. The parent was to administer the program immediately after the child received three instructional sessions at school. Written instructions in the training manual explained exactly what the parent was to do, say, and evaluate while administering the 15 lessons in the program. When the parents followed the instructions explicitly, 70% of the children articulated /s/ correctly during the first 20 /s/ responses in a test of conversational speech.
    For example, one important variable identified by Mowrer, Baker, and Schutz (1968) which appeared responsible for increasing correct /s/ production in spontaneous speech was the token reward provided to the child following each correct /s/. Children whose parents did not provide such token reward produced significantly fewer correct /s/ responses on the criterion test than did children who received tokens". p. 439

    Mowrer, D. E., Measurement in speech therapy. Psychol. Aspects Disabil., 17, 24-28 (1970).

    Mowrer, D.E. The Management of Consequent Events in Speech Therapy 1971 (cited in above resource)

    Mowrer, D, An Instructional Program to Increase Fluent Speech of Stutterers, JFD 1(2), 1974, 25-35

    Mowrer, D.E., Thompson, J.A., A Review of Articles Concerning Stuttering Appearing in 160 Periodicals during the Past Eleven Years, ASHA 19(12), 1977, 883-886

    Mowrer, D.E., Effects of Audience Reaction upon Fluency Rates of Six Stutterers, JFD 3(3), 1978, 193-204

    Mowrer, D., Speech Problems: What You Should Do and Shouldn't Do, Learning 6(5), 1978, 34-37

    Mowrer, D. and Julia Thompson, Middle-class Adult's Knowledge of Referral Sources for Problems of Vision, Reading, Stuttering, and Articulation, JFD 3(4), 1978, 285-294

    Mowrer, D.E., Fairbanks, C., Cantor, A.B., How School-aged Students Define Stuttering and Stammering, JFD 5(4), 1980, 331-344

    Mowrer, D. (1987). Reported use of a Japanese accent to promote fluency. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 1, 19-39.

    Mowrer, Donald E., and Mary Elizabeth D/Zamko. “A Comparison of Humor and Directive Language in Head Start Classrooms.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 3.3 (1990): 297-304.

    Mowrer, D.E., & Burger, S. (1991). A comparative analysis of phonological acquisition of consonants in the speech of 2;5 - 6 - year - old Xhosa- and English- speaking children. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 5(2), 139-164.

    Mowrer, Donald E. “A Case Study of Perceptual and Acoustic Features of an Infant’s First Laugh Utterances.” HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research. 7.2 (1994): 139-155.

    Mowrer, D. Alternative Research Strategies for the Investigation of Stuttering. Journal of Fluency Disorders, (1998) 23, 89-97.

    Mowrer, D. (1998). Analysis of the Sudden Onset and Disappearance of Disfluencies in the Speech of a 2 1/2-year-old boy. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 23, 103-118.


    Donald E. Mowrer, Exercises in Modifying Speech Behaviors C E Merrill Pub. Co; Second edition (1977)

    Donald E. Mowrer, Methods of modifying speech behaviors: Learning theory in speech pathology, Merrill; 2nd edition (1982)

    Donald E. Mowrer Clinical Management of Speech Disorders, Aspen Pub (January 1, 1982)

    Additional Contributions

    Mowrer, Donald, Modification of the Frontal Lisp Programmed Articulation Control Kit Paperback, 1970 - listed on Amazon as - 3 paperback instructional books - Speech Book, Parent Manual, and an instructional manual for the speech pathologist (not visible on the Amazon site which says the entire item is "currently unavailable - we don't know when or it this item will be back in stock."

    Editorial review is provided- "This instructional program was designed to correct the frontal lisp, aimed at two learning concepts: successive approximation and differential reinforcement. Dr Mowrer therefore, developed this program to be administered by a speech pathologist, with tools for the parent. There is the large instructional manual for the speech pathologist, which after completion, explains the use of the Parent Manual and Speech Book. The object of the program is to quickly and efficiently aid the lisping student to overcome his speech error."

    I believe the 1970 kit was based on the ??? article which explains the program. As a new speech clinician in 1968 in the public schools in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, I worked to develop the program, based on the article but I did not finish it since I was hired as a clinical supervisor at UW-Madison the summer of 1968

  • STUTT-X@ASU.EDU was an open list designed for the discussion about research of communication disorders, fluency disorders in particular. The list owner was Donald Mowrer

  • An audio of a 20 minute speech explaining Mowrer his behavioral therapy program for stuttering - an approach in the 1970's that focused only on establishing and transferring fluency in a step-by-step approach. His speech is provided here for historical significance of Mower's ideas at one point in time and may or may not reflect what he believed later. It is important that information from this clip not be taken as a specific treatment suggestion for individuals who stutter. Determination of treatment for stuttering is best done in face-to-face coordination with a certified Speech-Language Pathologist.

  • A Case of Drug Induced Stuttering by Don Mowrer and Jan Yount - for ISAD2
  • Don Mowrer wrote on April 15, 2000: remembering Stanley Ainsworth - He said "We exchanged Christmas cards with the Ainsworths every year since I left Fla. St. Univ in 1953 where he served as my major professor for my MA degree in Speech Pathology. Stan was one of the most professional men I ever knew. He was dedicated to his field and to his students. On several occasions he invited students to his home in the evening for a social hour with his lovely wife Helen. He presented to students a model of what a professor should be like - a love of teaching and a love of his students. I will miss his Christmas cards and words about his family but I will reflect upon our friendship for the rest of my life."

    added January 10, 2020