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Sherman Joseph Tatz, 89, former LIU Post professor, artist

Sherman Joseph Tatz, former chairman of the psychology

Sherman Joseph Tatz, former chairman of the psychology department at LIU Post, died at 89. Credit: Tatz family

Sherman Joseph Tatz, former chairman of the psychology department at LIU Post never gave up his passion for painting, despite losing most of his eyesight.

Even as his vision deteriorated, he continued to create artworks and went on to hold his first solo show at the Huntington Public Library in 2009, said his daughter Barbara Yanuck of Huntington.

Tatz, a longtime Huntington resident, died March 23 at the Hospice House in East Northport from respiratory failure after a brief illness, his family said. He was 89.

Tatz was a member of the psychology faculty at LIU Post, then called C.W. Post, in Brookville for 37 years. He led the department from 1979 to 1999 and earned awards for excellence in teaching.

His research interests included visual perception and the psychology of the arts. A lover of classical music, literature and art, Tatz flourished as a watercolor painter, particularly in his later years, family and friends said.

Tatz, who had macular degeneration, retired from LIU Post in 2001 due to his near-blindness. He continued to hold the title of professor emeritus.

"He was a terrific role model for how to live your life," Yanuck said. "When he could no longer do what he loved, he found another avenue and developed his artistic talent despite a very real obstacle."

As a father and grandfather, he was described as being a good listener and storyteller -- inspiring his family through his love of learning and compassion.

Tatz was born in Philadelphia to Polish immigrants. His father, Samuel, was a clothing maker who later opened a candy and soda fountain shop. His mother, Lillian, helped run the family business.

After graduating from high school, Tatz attended art school for one year before enrolling at Temple University, where he earned both a bachelor's and master's in psychology. He received his doctorate in 1956 from Yale University.

Tatz met his wife, Margaret L. Strehan, also a psychology professor, as they both started teaching careers at Adelphi University in Garden City. They settled in Huntington, where they raised four children.

He was preceded in death by his wife and a daughter, Gloria Sherman. In addition to Yanuck, Tatz is survived by a son, William Tatz, of Jersey City; another daughter, Diana Tatz, of Somerville, Mass.; and nine grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 4 at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, 109 Browns Rd.

Donations can be made to the Helen Keller Service for the Blind, 57 Willoughby St., Brooklyn NY 11201.

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