Walter Harold MacGinitie | 1928-2020

Contributed Photo. Walter MacGinitie.

Walter Harold MacGinitie | Aug. 14, 1928 – Dec. 17, 2020


Walter MacGinitie, age 92, was born in Carmel, California, the only child of marine biologists George and Nettie MacGinitie. In 1950 Walter married Ruth Kilpatrick and they raised two daughters, Mary and Laura.

Walter spent the last 40 years of his life living on San Juan Island with his wife and died peacefully at home from a brain tumor.

Walter received degrees from the University of California, Stanford University, and Teachers College at Columbia University. After completing his first two degrees, he was a public school teacher in Long Beach, California, before and after serving four years in the United States Air Force.

He became an Instructor in Psychology at Teachers College while completing his PhD and went on to become a Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College for twenty years. He then served as the Lansdowne Scholar and Professor of Education at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada.

After completing his PhD, Walter collaborated with Dr. Arthur I. Gates in a complete revision of The Gates Silent Reading Test which led to four editions of The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests. Walter received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of reading, was president of the International Literacy Association in 1976, and was elected president of the Association’s Reading Hall of Fame in 1989.

 In 1980, Walter and Ruth moved from New York City to Friday Harbor, Washington. During his 40 years as a resident on San Juan Island, Walter was involved in the lay ministry of Saint David’s Episcopal Church and was supportive of many community organizations.

In 2013, Walter and Ruth MacGinitie were named Good Stewards by the Stewardship Network, a coalition of public and private organizations whose vision is a healthy, thriving ecosystem in the San Juan Archipelago. To the end of his life, Walter was grateful for the natural world, his family, and the miracle of life.   

Walter is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughters Mary Ferm (Dan) and Laura Derevensky (Richard); and grandchildren Nora Nickum (Stuart), Rachel Allen (Dave), Michael and Anna Derevensky and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be announced at a future date.

Posted on December 27, 2020 at 10:03 am by

Categories: Obituaries, People
One comment:

One comment...

  1. Walter was a great man and a wonderful model of good mental health. It was an honor to have been on the vestry with Walter
    His grandson Michael also played trumpet with the band and had a lot of Walters traits. Ruth andWalter have been a great plus in our community.

    Comment by David Eden on December 28, 2020 at 4:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0
%d bloggers like this: