Edward "Ted" Carr was just 30 years old when he wrote his second academic article in the field of clinical psychology and autism.
The article became a seminal work and underscored the brilliance of a man who turned into a world-renowned autism expert, said Jennifer Zarcone, a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
"He was a god in the field," Zarcone told about 200 people gathered at Stony Brook University Sunday at a memorial service honoring Carr, who spent 33 years teaching there.
Carr, 61, and his wife, Ilene Wasserman, 58, a psychologist in private practice, were killed June 20 after another driver swerved into their lane on Route 25A in Wading River. The Setauket couple was on a Saturday nature drive when they were hit.
Police initially arrested a Rocky Point man, Michael Koss, 66, on drunken driving charges, but dropped the charges in August after tests showed a blood-alcohol content level of .01 percent. A minimum blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent is required for a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Sunday, Carr's colleagues and former students remained shaken by his death, and deeply touched by his life and their relationships with him. Attendees came from around the country to listen to speeches on his towering contributions and sometimes quirky personality.
Mark Durand, a professor at the University of South Florida, said Carr had once joked that if he had not become an academic in clinical psychology he would have liked to have become a stand-up comedian. But Durand said Carr probably would have become an academic in another area.
"His love of learning was unparalleled," Durand said, adding, "You impacted the lives of millions of people. It was an honor to be your friend."
Glen Dunlap, also of the University of South Florida, noted that Carr wrote or co-wrote 190 academic articles or book chapters, often with remarkable insights. Of one study, he said, "This was astonishing, unheard of."
Robert Horner of the University of Oregon, addressing Carr's former students in the audience, said, "Ted actually cared about you. He worried about you. He talked to us about you."
Many former students said they felt that. "Ted was a brilliant man, unbelievable" said John Innis, of Smithtown. "I am here out of respect and to honor him."