Mortimer R. Feinberg Ph.D. – In Memorium

In Biographies by Steve Sliwa

FEINBERG–Mortimer R., Ph.D., passed away peacefully of natural causes on December 10, 2015.  Born August 26, 1922, in New York City, Mort combined a career as an academic with his role as a consultant and advisor to many of the world’s most successful corporations and individuals.  A pioneer in the field of industrial psychology, Dr. Feinberg educated, enlightened and advised a stellar roster of global chief executive officers, heads of state, and leaders of thought for nearly six decades.

He successfully combined keen technical expertise with a unique sense of humanity, touching campuses and board rooms from Brooklyn to Dubai.  As an academic, Dr. Feinberg is a Professor Emeritus of Baruch College of the City University of New York.  There he served as the Director of Advanced Management Programs, Assistant Dean, Professor and former acting Chairman of the Psychology Department and Professor of Management.  A tireless lecturer and keynote speaker, Dr. Feinberg highlighted the agenda for organizations and institutions such as the Young Presidents Organizations, the Israel Management Center, and the Indo-American Society. He served as a conference leader for public and private corporations such as GE, AlliedBarton, Rockefeller Group International, Chase Bank, Pritchard Industries, Crescent Petroleum, and Insitu. In all, his service as a lecturer and conference leader took him to over 30 countries around the world.

Dr. Feinberg’s accomplishments were broadly recognized, having received numerous honors and awards.  He held an Honorary Doctor of Aviation Business Administration from Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University.  In addition, he was a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is listed in Who’s Who in America.  A renowned author of six books, as well as countless business articles and technical papers, Dr. Feinberg’s insights have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes Magazines.  In addition, he was a guest on national radio and television programming such as NBC’s Today Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show.  His “Effective Psychology for Managers” and “Why Smart People do Dumb Things” have become required reading for professional business managers.  In addition, Dr. Feinberg met and interviewed four standing U.S. Presidents to discuss their psychology of leadership.  Fueled by an insatiable desire to impact positively the welfare of every individual who came across his path and armed with a style uniquely his own, Dr. Feinberg combined wit, a depth of experience, and compassion to provide point – on advice to those he counseled.

He was predeceased by his loving wife of nearly 60 years Gloria, and is survived by his beloved sons Drs. Stuart and Todd (Marlene) Feinberg, grandchildren Rachel (Jason) and Dr. Joshua Feinberg and great-grandson Jake.  Funeral services will be held today, Sunday, December 13, 2015, 10:45 am at Hellman Memorial Chapels, 15 State Street, Spring Valley, NY.  Interment to follow at Sharon Gardens Cemetery, Valhalla, NY. – See more at: link New York Times - Obituary
Mr. Mortimer Robert Feinberg, of Cortlandt Manor, NY, passed away on Thursday, December 10, 2015, at Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, NY.  Mr. Feinberg was born on August 26, 1922, in New York, NY.  He was 93 years old.  Funeral services will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2015, 10:45 AM, at Hellman Memorial Chapels, 15 State Street, Spring Valley, NY, with Rabbi Grossman officiating.  Interment will follow at Sharon Gardens Cemetery, 273 Lakeview Avenue, Valhalla, NY.  Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Hellman Memorial Chapels, 15 State Street, Spring Valley, NY. 845.356.8600. Hellman Memorial Chapels - Obituary
Mort was a critical part of my success throughout my career.  Typically he would meet with my senior team once a quarter and then give me 2 to 3 “homework” items for me to work on.  The following quarter he would meet with my team, give me my homework “grades,” and then assign new homework.  It helped keep me keep focused on what was important to avoid the traps where “Smart People Do Dumb Things!”Steve Sliwa
Meeting, working with and befriending Mort was a part of joining Insitu that I will always cherish.  Something that stands out to me was the dichotomy of his well deserved, professorial demeanor when working and his need to start each phone call with his prolonged joke telling.  I could tell I had been accepted as his jokes became racier. Jeff Thom, former Insitu CFO
I am very sorry to hear that Mort passed away.  He was truly a rare and remarkable man.  I feel very fortunate to have known him, and I greatly appreciate that opportunity. I suppose that the thing that I remember most about Mort was his penetrating insight.  I remember when I traveled to NYC to meet with him.  To begin, I recall his wonderful hospitality.  At the end of our meeting, he shared his observations about me in a rather direct manner (so sugar coating).  At first, I disagreed with him, but later I realized that he understood things about me that were beyond my comprehension.  He also provided some great guidance on how I could direct my attributes most effectively.  Our meeting was a pivotal moment of growth, and I carry these lessons with me today. I can see why many valued his counsel and friendship so much over the years.  I am so happy to have known Mort and to have benefited from his great wisdom. Jay Gundlach, former Director of Research, Insitu
What a loss for society and especially those close to him.Mort and I had just a few experiences together, but I will remember him with great fondness.I especially enjoyed the lunch I had with him in NYC at the Yale Club.Though he was a great man, he had a knack of making you feel your own specialness in his presence. Vic Sweberg, Boeing Director of UAS, retired
The first time Mort met with us to consult on Embry-Riddle he was convinced that Paul McDuffee (with distinguished streaks of gray) was the President.  We let him continue for quite awhile before straightening him out.  We joked about this quite often over the 20+ years since and he brought it up the last time I talked to him a couple of weeks before the end.  People of character can enjoy humor even about themselves. Steve Sliwa
One of the highlights for me in joining Insitu was meeting Dr. Feinberg.  From the first time to the last time I saw him, he would also tell a joke.  It would make me laugh either because it was a good joke or a horrible joke…but to him if it made you laugh then it was certainly a good joke.  Working with Dr. Feinberg had been a rewarding experience.  There are many great leaders in this world as a result of being “Mortified”.  We all can only hope to leave the legacy he has left behind. Ryan M. Hartman, CEO Insitu
All of us that have worked with Mort over the years were subjected to a variety of tests.  Well … Turnabout is Fair Play!  I made up an online test (within out ISO9000 certification testing system) covering the material in “Why Smart People Do Dumb Things!” I invited him into my office and had him sit at my desk and then I sprung it on him.  Boy was he flummoxed.  Fortunately, Gracia Smith was there to help him answer the questions so he could pass the test.  I noticed that he wasn’t quite so hard-over about giving everyone a test after this event.  Coincidence? [Link to Test] Steve Sliwa
I remember when I met Mort in Bingen for the first time he asked me about my background.  I told him.  His reply: “So what are you doing here, playing with model airplanes?”  I immediately liked him.  🙂 Rich Colie
Mort put another dimension into my working and social life.I have just heard of his death and it is so sad. We enjoyed a 25-year association in both a professional and personal capacity. Mort visited England on many occasions to present lectures in my home country. He was a beacon and added an extra dimension to the lives of my wife Sue, myself and our children. He is sadly missed over on the other side the pond – as he would say. Mark Price
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