Edward S. Halas, retired professor of psychology, passed away at Altru Hospital on Sept. 12, 2019, as a result of complications associated with a recent accident.
Edward, the first child of his Slovak immigrant parents, was born in Chicago, Ill., on Aug. 21. From an early age, he valued learning and possessed a keen interest in science. Edward graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., with a degree in psychology and then obtained a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Texas in Austin and his Doctorate in Psychology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. It was in Austin that Edward met his wife Loubelle. They were married on Oct. 30, 1954, beginning a long and happy union that resulted in three sons and two grandchildren.
Edward began his teaching career in 1959 at the University of North Dakota, where he taught psychology classes and conducted research. In 1962, he accepted a two-year post-doctorate appointment at UCLA Medical School, where he studied at its Brain Institute. Edward then returned to his position at UND, continuing teaching and expanding his research on the human brain with an emphasis on nutrition’s impact on the development and functioning of the brain. He did much of his nutritional research at the United States Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Laboratory. Edward published scores of articles documenting his research in numerous scholarly and scientific publications.
During his long tenure at UND, he taught freshman and upper level psychology classes, mentored numerous doctoral candidates, and delivered lectures regarding the human brain to UND medical students. As a result of his extensive research, he had the opportunity to travel to psychology conventions throughout the United States to present his findings. Edward was also invited to international conventions to present his research. When traveling abroad, he was usually accompanied by Loubelle. They enjoyed sightseeing together in Europe, the USSR, and Africa. One of their most memorable travel experiences occurred in Africa in 1969 when Edward and Loubelle witnessed Neal Armstrong walk on the moon on a black and white TV in their hotel lobby.
Edward retired from UND in 1992. He and Loubelle continued to live in Grand Forks but traveled frequently. They particularly enjoyed the warm beaches of Hawaii, the Caribbean Islands, and Mexico during the cold North Dakota winter months. They also enjoyed visiting their grandchildren in the greater Kansas City area. In particular, Ed loved attending Matt’s and Sydney’s sports events. He also enjoyed playing chess and talking KU basketball with Matt and marveled at Syd’s poise, optimism, and “gift of gab.”
A new hobby was born during his retirement: Ed was a frequent contributor to the Letters to the Editor of the Grand Forks Herald. These letters were usually of a political nature. Edward was not shy about voicing his opinion or criticizing what he found to be bad policy or bad decision-making. Many agreed with him–and told him so. Others did not agree with Edward–and also told him so. He did not walk down the middle of the road. He had an opinion and did not hesitate to share it with others and let the chips fall where they might.
Edward was preceded in death by his parents Stephan and Julia Halas, his brother George, and his middle son Richard. He is survived by his wife Loubelle, his oldest son R. Steve and wife Valerie and their children Matt and Sydney; and his youngest son George.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Altru Hospital who helped care for Edward during his last four days, including the nurses, physicians, housekeepers, chaplain, front door greeters, and others unknown, all of whom performed their duties with the utmost kindness and compassion.
Edward always valued education and, as a final contribution to science, he bequeathed his body to the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Prior to his death, he made his wish known to forego a memorial service.