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Keith Rayner
  • 71 years old
  • Date of birth: Jun 20, 1943
  • Date of passing: Jan 21, 2015
  • Place of passing:
    San Diego, California, United States
Saccade is a fancy name for eye movement.

Keith passed away peacefully, after a courageous battle with Multiple Myeloma, at the age of 71 on January 21, 2015, with his family by his side. 

Keith was born June 20th in Dover, England to William Thomas and Olive Stock Rayner.  His family emigrated to the United States in 1949 and settled in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He served an LDS mission to England from 1962-1964.  Married Susan Rae Knight , December 16, 1966 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.  He attended the University of Utah and earned his Doctorate  from Cornell University.  Keith and his family lived in Massachusetts for 35 years before moving to San Diego.  He was a professor at the University of Rochester, University of Massachusetts Amherst and the UC San Diego Atkinson Family Distinguished Professor at the time of his death.  He excelled in the field of Experimental Psychology, receiving numerous honors and awards.  He was an avid sports fan and particularly fond of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots.  He coached numerous Amherst youth baseball teams his son participated in.  He was an active member of the LDS church and served in various capacities throughout his life.  In addition to his loving wife, he is survived by his children, Ashley (Jason) and Jonathan (Becky), his two beautiful granddaughters, Isabel and Samantha, his mother Olive, siblings Pete (Kathy), Sue (Brent) and Julie.  Preceded in death by his father (Bill), sister (Nancy), in-laws Clifford and Rae Knight), brother in-law (Dave) and nephew (Hunter).


CAREER HONORS & AWARDS:

2006 – Chancellor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, University of Massachusetts

2007 -  Bartlett Lecture Lifetime Achievement Award from the Experimental

             Psychology Society, UK

2009  -  Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award

2010  -  UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates Research Award

2011  -  Carnegie Centenary Professor by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities

               of Scotland

2013  -  Distinguished Scholar Lifetime Achievement Award from the Literacy

               Research Association

2014  -   Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association

2014  -   William James Fellow for Lifetime Achievement Award from Association for Psychological Science

2014  -   Award for Excellence in Mentoring from Women in Cognitive Science

 

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Philip Gough on 17th November 2015

"Keith Rayner is in my pantheon."

This tribute was added by Victor Ferreira on 2nd November 2015

"I was asked to deliver remarks about Keith at his memorial this past spring, and I had occasion to see them again just now.  In re-reading them, it occurred to me that others may find them of interest.  Find them below.

"Thanks for giving me a chance to say a few words.

Keith joined our department at UCSD in 2008, after a very long stint at the University of Massachusetts.  Keith was, to put it mildly, very well established at UMass:  He knew the system well, he knew the people well, and the people knew him well.  He let that go for a new adventure, to a system he didn’t know, to many people he didn’t know, and to people who knew him, but mainly by reputation.  He was 65 years old at the time, an age at which many of us begin to slow down, settle in, perhaps arriving at a time when we look back and reflect on our accomplishments.  Not Keith.  He got here, and became more productive perhaps than at any point in his career.  All of this took great courage.  But courage was something Keith was not short of, a fact that all of us have been very aware of for the last few years.

Most of us know Keith for his academic accomplishments – his incredible productivity, the fact that he pretty much defined an entire field of study that will continue for decades to come, and much more.  I want to talk a bit about Keith as he was as a colleague in our department, and I’d like to talk specifically about a very important role that he had with us, namely, as chair of our graduate admissions committee.  Those of you who are academics know that graduate admissions is very possibly the most important committee in the department.  It decides who the graduate students in the department will be, and the graduate students are the lifeblood of any department.  Given his history of amazing mentorship, it was natural for Keith to join our graduate admissions committee shortly after arriving here, and as with all things he did, his natural tendency to lead led him to chair the committee.  He was a great grad admissions chair, because it played to all of Keith’s strengths.  It played to his strength of organization – Keith seemed to be able to get to know everyone, by name, who they are, where they came from, who else they knew.  He would take notes on everyone by writing names and words on pieces of paper, no fancy computer databases.  (And before anyone thinks that this must have been inefficient, remember Keith’s incredible productivity – efficiency was not a problem for him.)  Chairing graduate admissions played to Keith’s effectiveness:  You knew he would get the task done, just like everything else he did.  It played to his good judgment, as he would know just who would be the right students to admit.  Most importantly, it played to his trustworthiness, his even-handedness, his fairness.  When Keith made a call, it was not because of an agenda, or because of ideology, but because it was the right, best, fairest decision.  And of course, I use grad admissions to illustrate all of this, but this was how Keith did everything:  His research, his interactions with his colleagues, how he led his lab, how he interacted with family and friends.  It is for all of these reasons that we celebrate Keith.

I was lucky to work closely with Keith not only on department matters, but as a researcher.  We co-advised Liz Schotter, only one of the literally dozens of brilliant graduate students and post docs that Keith mentored to successful careers and successful lives.  Of all of Keith’s accomplishments – and there are many – I’m going to guess that his mentorship of these incredible minds was his proudest.  And that only seems right, and it seems comforting, as we know that through these great people, Keith’s work, his ethic, and his influence will live on for many years to come.

To Sue, Ashley, Jonathan, and the rest of Keith’s family:  Thank you for sharing Keith with us all these many years.  He made our department a better place than it would have been without him.  And for that, we are grateful, and we celebrate.

Thanks.""

This tribute was added by Jessica Hill on 19th October 2015

"I can't believe it has taken this long for me to discover Keith's passing. In my academic family tree, Keith would be my Academic Uncle.

Keith, thank you for your kind and compassionate mentorship. I knew I could always come to you for advice."

This tribute was added by matthew harper on 24th September 2015

"I am Keith's cousin ( my father ,John , his first cousin ) and only met keith twice before however always followed his success and was extremely proud of him as was my family , I was unaware of his passing and was saddened to read this. A genius but also a humble kind man."

This tribute was added by Steve Fadden on 15th June 2015

"Keith was one of the most influential mentors I've ever had. I was fortunate to be able to participate in his lab as an undergraduate, and have him as a mentor for my research thesis. His mentoring ultimately led me to pursue graduate research in psycholinguistics (and beyond), and I'm forever grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from him."

This tribute was added by Michele Nash on 14th June 2015

"Feeling sentimental, I decided to look up some of my favorite professors of years ago. I was saddened to see Professor Rayner had passed.
I am from a poor, uneducated background, While at UMASS as an undergrad he convinced me to take graduate courses. His, "You can do this, you are as smart as anyone here" comment has stayed with me for life.
I now teach at an urban community college passing along that message to many others that need to hear it. He was truly a blessing, directly and indirectly, to so many.
To his family: I know he worked long hours. Thank you for sharing him with us."

This tribute was added by Amaris Martinez on 1st June 2015

"In my brief time of being to work in his lab as an undergraduate, Keith's work and passion has inspired my career path as an aspiring researcher.
I am forever grateful of the welcoming and genuine atmosphere he created in the lab, making it a joy for me to come in every day.

His presence is among everyone he mentored or encountered.
I am truly blessed to have been able to meet him."

This tribute was added by Pingping Liu on 27th April 2015

"We miss you and your smile, always."

This tribute was added by Gerry Altmann on 16th March 2015

"I was very saddened to hear that Keith is no longer with us. He was an inspiration to so many of us. My own work owed so much to him, and he was incredibly supportive of my own career, as well as those of his many students and colleagues in the field. He was a remarkable man, and a mainstay of the field. My memories of Keith will live on, and will continue to inspire me."

This tribute was added by Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki on 3rd March 2015

"I remember the first time I spoke with Keith he called my home in Jordan to interview me. I was not told about the call ahead of time and so was caught completely by surprise. He introduced himself as merely as Keith and in his warm and casual tone proceeded to ask me question without really telling me who he was. I thought I was talking to maybe a grad student who was screening new students for the real interviews and I thought I had bombed the interview. Keith must have seen something in me and not long after that I was invited to join the Umass grad program.

Keith was always there to provide support when I needed it and to prod me when I needed it. He will be very sorely missed!"

This tribute was added by Lester Loschky on 28th February 2015

"Keith influenced my research before I knew it, because the theories and research methods I used with my mentor, George McConkie, were those that Keith and George had developed together over the previous two decades.  I gradually came to know Keith over the years, and he was like a wise much older brother to me.  When we decided to do a special issue in honor of our mentor, George, I had no idea that a year after we finished it, Keith would be gone.  The fact that Keith put so much energy into that special issue at that point in his life says a lot about what kind of person he was. I had hoped it would be only the beginning of our work together.  I am greatly saddened that it will also be our last... I miss you, Keith. Thank you for working patiently with me.  Your legacy will live on."

This tribute was added by Philip Benson on 28th February 2015

"I was deeply saddened when I got the news, and took too damn long to do something in response. Keith's legacy as a man who also happened to be a diligent academic will continue to be an inspiration to many who want to do something useful in science."

This tribute was added by Rebecca Treiman on 26th February 2015

"In response to a comment here from Keith's sister, Keith really was a big deal in the field of reading research -- one of the biggest deals. All of us who work in that field greatly value his contributions. I was proud to be working with him on a paper that was submitted shortly before his death, and it is amazing to me how he shepherded that paper along while he was ill. Keith will be greatly missed by many people."

This tribute was added by Michael Stroud on 18th February 2015

"As I am currently up late preparing my tenure file, I see Keith's name in more places than I deserve.  Keith single-handedly took a huge risk and admitted me to graduate school almost on a whim.  That forever changed my life and I often share anecdotes and things I learned from Keith to current students. I will be forever grateful to have had the privilege to learn from Keith.  His legacy will continue to grow and flourish in a way that I know he is proud."

This tribute was added by John Henderson on 15th February 2015

"I would literally not be where I am today if not for Keith. When I started applying for graduate school as an undergrad at UMass, I would ask Keith his opinion about various graduate programs. Each time, no matter which university I asked him about, Keith would say: “That’s an ok place, but you would be better off staying here.” Keith always had a strong opinion, and he was always right. When I write a paper, prepare a talk, or try to think through a research problem, I almost always think about what Keith would say about it. His skepticism of neuroimaging has pushed me to try to conduct neuroimaging studies that he would appreciate. From the time I met him in the last year of my undergrad study to this day, Keith has been a mentor, friend, advocate, and confidant. He was also one of the most generous and supportive people I’ve known."

This tribute was added by lei cui on 15th February 2015

"I am saddened to learn of the passing of Keith. I still remember the talk with him in June. He is a kind gentleman and make great contributions to the study of psychology.  He has done more for Chinese eye movement study. In my heart, I really wish to get a chance to study with him for a longer time. But now, it is a forever regret.
I want to sent my thoughts and prayers to Keith's family, and all those who loved him!"

This tribute was added by Alan Kennedy on 12th February 2015

"Terribly sad news. What on earth will we do without Keith?"

This tribute was added by Nathalie Belanger on 11th February 2015

"Dear Keith,
I miss you. I miss chatting in your office, while you are sitting back in your chair, sometimes with your feet up on your desk. You had a way to sit back, listen, say few words, but yet your presence was phenomenal and your influence profound…on me, on many. When I met you, it took me a while to notice the playful sparkle in your eye, not because it wasn’t there, but because, like many, I was somewhat overwhelmed to be sitting in front of the best in the world. Yet, the sparkle was there and I soon realized that besides the science talk, you were always ready for a laugh, extremely willing to be poked fun at. In you, I met the most kind, considerate, and generous mentor I could hope for when I moved to California and your constant, effortless aim for the best inspired me and has had a profound influence on my career. Thank you. I want to honor you by passing your commitment to your students and collaborators on to my future students. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do so as well as you did, because you were exceptional, but you’ll be in the back of my mind for the rest of my life and I am sure I’ll regularly hear your deep voice saying “Nathalie, my office”! You were an incredible model, but I gotta tell you there is one thing I will never do to my students: sneak up behind them, ninja-style, to look at their computer screen and then ask (and terrify the person you just snuck up on): “what are you working on”? ☺  Much love to Sue, Jonathan, Ashley, your Mom and your family. Rest in peace, Keith. I miss you.
Nathalie"

This tribute was added by Sue Petersen on 5th February 2015

"I am Keith's sister Sue Petersen. Keith was an amazing big brother and such a great example and influence for good to his whole family. We used to tease him because our Mom called him her "Golden Boy". It sounds like he really deserved this title. We knew he was kind of a big deal but had no idea how much he contributed to the field he loved so passionately. He never boasted or tried to make himself out to be anything important.

It has been so fun to read all of the tributes people have left on this site. He was always just Keith around us.

He loved to play games (as long as he won) with us and with our children and grandchildren. Rarely one of us could beat him at some game and boy, were we proud of ourselves!  We love Keith and will all miss him very, very much. We can find comfort in the fact that he had such a huge impact on so many lives.

Thanks so much for starting this memorial page for him. I am looking forward to meeting some of you when we come down for the Memorial Service in San Diego on February 14th."

This tribute was added by Jing Shen on 4th February 2015

"I still remember the first time I talked to Keith. I was hoping to use eye-tracking method on a research project that I had in mind. I walked into Keith’s office with my idea and a bit pilot data, quite nervous. He did not smile much during the conversation; however, it surprised me that he quickly agreed to let me work on the project in his lab. Just like that, Keith generously opened up his lab to me for the rest of the years I was in UCSD. He had given me valuable guidance and support I needed throughout my final stage of PhD years. Rayner Lab had been the place I always went to when I was looking for suggestions and discussion. I feel so fortunate that I was able to work with him (and his lab members) in my graduate career. Keith will always be missed in my heart as one of the best mentors I had ever had."

This tribute was added by Eyal Reingold on 3rd February 2015

"I feel very lucky to have known Keith. I greatly admired him and I will always be grateful for his generosity and friendship. I was very much looking forward to visiting him this summer in San Diego during the workshop that was going to be held to celebrate Keith’s remarkable scientific career.

Since his passing, I have been missing him and wishing that I had a chance to say goodbye. I wrote a short poem in which I imagine walking with him one last time. I would like to share it with others who might have similar feelings:

you never know what`s around the corner
whispered the  man as he crossed the border
they marched in silence as they parted way
thinking of the bonds that will never fray
a door had opened and another closed
standing in the light he was all exposed
he considered himself the luckiest man
finding uncommon grace in the lion's den"

This tribute was added by Mako Hirotani on 2nd February 2015

"Keith, thank you for being a wonderful mentor. I can't express enough how much I learned from you in the eye tracking lab at UMass. I still can hear you saying to me, "What are data?", "Ottawa is very cold, Mako", and a host of things that I will remember forever. I will miss you very much."

This tribute was added by Sarah White on 2nd February 2015

"Keith gave me, and so many others, so many valuable opportunities, and so much "food for thought", that made such a huge difference to us professionally and personally. I have so many great memories of Keith's visit in Durham and my visits at UMass. I still remember comments in the lab that made me think so carefully, and I'm really grateful for the time he took to care for us as visitors as well. I remember how concerned he was when I cheerfully told him my plan to go off backpacking from Amherst on my own. We have an awful lot to live up to."

This tribute was added by Denis Drieghe on 2nd February 2015

"Keith was the closest thing I ever had to a mentor. I visited him for half a year as a PhD student at UMASS, and then returned for an additional two years as a postdoc. Besides what he meant to the field, what I will remember mostly from him will be how, once you got to know him, how approachable he was. He always had time to spare when you knocked on his door, sometimes seemingly as if he had no other work to do (yeah, right). Now that he is gone, what I will miss above anything else is the possibility to ask him for advice in the months and indeed years to come. In many ways he was one of those people who are genuinely irreplaceable. He took so good care of the young (and somewhat older) researchers he supervised or once supervised. I would not be where I am now without Keith and I am very grateful to have known this person who both as a researcher and as a human being, was a giant."

This tribute was added by Wouter Duyck on 2nd February 2015

"one of the greatest researchers in psychology of all times.
And not just a great researcher, but also a great personality, also towards junior people in the field. He will be missed.
My condoleances to family and friends..."

This tribute was added by Tim Slattery on 1st February 2015

"Keith taught me so much about scientific exploration. I doubt I am even aware of the extent to which I learned from him. Now that I have a graduate student of my own to mentor I truly marvel at the extent of his patience. I remember the first time I met with him to discuss data and I came prepared with 20+ pages of SPSS output only to watch him sigh and ask to see a table of the means. Oh, and you never "look at" things...you "examine" them. And apparently french fries always taste better off of someone else's plate. He did so much for so many. I miss him terribly."

This tribute was added by Guoli Yan on 30th January 2015

"Professor Keith Rayner, a giant and a leading figure in the field of eye movement research. Many people are attracted by his great personality charm. His passing is a great loss to the eye movement research in the world. I would like to mention that he had contributed greatly to the development of eye movement research in China. He and Professor Deli Shen initiated the first China International Conference on Eye Movements in 2004. The biannual conference has been a great success and the 6th CICEM had just been held last year in Beijing. Keith also hosted several Chinese visiting researchers including me in his lab and had several great Chinese students. We lost a good friend and great researcher. I believe his spirit will still live in our hearts for ever.  Guoli Yan, Eye Tracking Lab, Academy of Psychology and Behavior,Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin, China."

This tribute was added by Adrian Staub on 30th January 2015

"I first met Keith when I came to talk to him in person about grad school at UMass.  Within the first couple of minutes he stared me down and asked me, in a way that communicated a confidence that I would know the answer, "Do you want to do words, sentences, or discourse?"  I barely knew what he meant, but I had the presence of mind to answer, "Sentences, I guess."  He said, "Good, we can do that."

In some ways it is very hard for me to understand, fully, how I got from there to here, because much of it was through Keith's brand of magic.  Since 2008, I have been Keith's successor as the director of the eyetracking lab at UMass.  Keith supported me without always letting me even know what he was up to, expected me to have answers, gave me enough rope to hang myself but made sure I didn't....he was like no one else I've known, and no one else I will know, in the way he could get everyone around him to produce their best work, and really, to be their best selves.  He intimidated some people who didn't really know him, and he liked it that way, I think.  But actually, he would do anything for you.  I like to think that he and I had a kind of funny bond.  I've been looking back through old emails with Keith (this is when laziness in deleting emails becomes a virtue), and I see how I became his kind of thinker, even though he always did make a bit of fun of my interests in theoretical linguistics.  Anyone who has heard Keith say the words 'filler gap' will know what I mean.

So he's gone, and I will miss him.  Yes, professionally, but mostly personally.  I owe him an awful lot, and I was awfully fond of him."

This tribute was added by Gordon Logan on 30th January 2015

"This explains why Keith didn’t respond to the email I sent him a week ago.  As everyone says, he was the go-to guy with questions about everything.  This time it was about science, but over the years it’s been about a lot of things.  I felt he was a good friend.  I don’t know much about his personal life, but I feel I knew the person:  Straightforward, direct, and very wise.  Considerate and generous.  He always answered emails.  Even from me...

Keith is a bright star in his field.  As everyone says, he created the field he starred in.  Research on eye movements and reading will always bear the Rayner mark.  He was a star in psychology more broadly.  Through his editorships of JEP:LMC and Psych Review, he did a lot to make psychology much better — all of it, not just cognitive psychology.  Tom Carr says the editorial process is a part of research, and Keith guided a lot of research in his thoughtful action letters.  I got a few from him as an author and I saw many more as a reviewer, having served on his boards for both journals.  He knew how to help the authors see what was important and how and why they could improve their work.  His action letters were direct and clear — deal with this point, don’t worry so much about that one — and they moved a lot of researchers forward in their careers.  The editorial process is our post-graduate continuing education, and Keith was the master teacher.

I will miss him.  I still need his answer to my email…"

This tribute was added by Albrecht Inhoff on 30th January 2015

"Keith was a wonderful mentor, and I am grateful for all the support he provided. He would not let you down. I remember a long-ago episode, when the dual-Purkinje tracker (at UMASS) went down while I was running a participant. It was a Saturday afternoon - almost dinner time. I called Keith at home hoping to get some suggestions. He told me he’d come to the lab to help me out, and he arrived within less than 10 minutes. We ran the subject. He was generous all around. A wonderful mentor, colleague, and friend. Albrecht Inhoff"

This tribute was added by Mohamed Mohamed on 30th January 2015

"I felt very sad for the terrible news about Keith. He was part of everyone who happened to be around him at UMass, including myself. When I knew he moved to California, It was difficult for me to imagine the department at UMass without him. I will always remember him as great scholar with unique style.To his family and friends, please accept my sincere condolences."

This tribute was added by David Rosenbaum on 30th January 2015

"Keith was an amazing person. He seemed to glide from one incredible achievement to another, never suffering from hubris. He and his colleagues hired me at UMass-Amherst and helped me get going in my career. I learned an enormous from him, as so many of us did, but most importantly, he was a model for how to be a "mensch" (a word from my tribe more than Keith's). ... And speaking of Keith's tribe, what really amazed me was that Keith could do as much he did without coffee! Amazing! (No disrespect intended.) He was such a good, good man. We were blessed to know him and benefit from his wisdom. My sincere condolences to Susan, Ashley, and Jonathan, whom I knew as children, and to my colleagues in psychology who worked more closely with Keith than I did. R.I.P., Keith."

This tribute was added by Bai Xuejun on 30th January 2015

"Professor Keith Rayner was a diligent scholar and he always worked hard with energy and commitment during his life. He originally developed paradigms of eye movement research and creatively carried out a tremendous amount of work during his life.

Keith has been a close friend of Chinese people. He was invited to visit Tianjin, China in 2004 and during that first visit Keith gave us a series of excellent courses regarding the basic paradigms, methods and principles in eye movement research. He provided a great help in advancing our knowledge of eye movements.

The biannual Chinese International Conference on Eye Movements (CICEM) was co-initiated by Professor Keith Rayner and Professor Deli Shen during his first visit to Tianjin, and these have now been held successfully six times. This conference has now become an important platform for academic communication of eye movement research between Chinese researchers and other International researchers.

Keith has been a great mentor to us! We are very sad for his leaving. We will remember him forever!"

This tribute was added by Gary Feng on 29th January 2015

"Keith was a towering figure in eye movement and reading research. His tireless effort in promoting cross-linguistic eye movement research will be remembered by generations of researchers around the world. He was a true legend."

This tribute was added by Tara Tenenbaum on 29th January 2015

"I remember one day during senior lab meeting we were welcoming a new visiting scholar, and we each went around the table to introduce ourselves. When it was my turn (feeling kind of insignificant being an undergrad surrounded by grad students and post docs), I said, "I'm Tara Chaloukian, and I'm just an undergrad research assistant". Keith was the first to say (with a terse, but caring tone) "Tara, you're not JUST a research assistant, tell her what you do".

He cared about each and every one of his students, both undergraduate and graduate. He saw potential in the students he mentored and collaborated with, and  pushed us (sometimes unbeknownst to us) to realize our full potential. For me, and for many of my former undergraduate peers, he played  an immense role in our academic, and research career development.

I am eternally grateful to have known such an amazing scientist, mentor, and person as Keith Rayner. He will be dearly missed by all of us.

-Tara (Chaloukian) Tenenbaum"

This tribute was added by Aggie Mitchkoski on 29th January 2015

"Keith was the first Chair of the Human Subjects Committee when I came to work at Umass Amherst. I owe so much of who I am in this department to his support, guidance and friendship. I have missed him since he moved to California and I will miss him still now that he has moved on.  I am so grateful for having known him. Blessings to his family during this challenging time."

This tribute was added by Chuck Clifton on 29th January 2015

"Keith was a dear friend and an inspiration, not only to me, but to the hordes of students, post-docs, and research visitors he attracted to his UMass laboratory over a 30-year period. We all valued the time we had with him."

This tribute was added by Andrea Martin-Nieuwland on 29th January 2015

"I remember Keith from the perspective of a lowly undergraduate in his grad seminar on reading (not even from one from UMass but moonlighting from a nearby flakier institution!) - Keith was a force to behold. I remember being terrified of giving my presentation in his class, but his gentle manner and steely, sharp, provocative intelligence really drew me out of my shell. He made you feel listened to, as if your engagement in the topic mattered, while he taught you, which is rare and hard to do. His ability to encourage, yet have such a dry wit and no-nonsense attitude really encouraged me, so the extent of positive impact on other students and collaborators who were closer to him must have been astronomical. I don't think I'd be doing what I am today if I hadn't taken Keith's class. Thank you, Keith. Rest in peace."

This tribute was added by Erik Reichle on 28th January 2015

"I can honestly say that Keith was one of the most influential people in my life -- as a mentor and colleague, of course, but most importantly, as a friend.  Words -- at least mine -- can't express how much I'm going to miss him."

This tribute was added by Shelia Kennison on 28th January 2015

"Keith was one of a kind, a true inspiration.  When I started my university teaching career, I tried to remember my classes with him and tried to give my students what he gave to us -- a clear, keen perspective, uncomplicated, and honest.  I will always remember his dry sense of humor.  He had a way of making you want to do the best you possibly could without saying a word."

This tribute was added by Gale Sinatra on 27th January 2015

"Keith was a member of my dissertation committee and made an indelible mark on my thinking. I also took a class with him which I still consider one of the best classes I ever had. We were the class that got to read and contribute to the page proofs of The Psychology of Reading, an amazing volume that has stood the test of time. He was a brilliant man and I feel honored to have known him and learned from him."

This tribute was added by Kiel Christianson on 27th January 2015

"Keith was a luminary among luminaries at UMass when I arrived for my postdoc. And I must admit that he terrified me a bit at first -- I was always worried that I was wasting his time. Then he started asking me questions in the hall about things, asking my opinion on manuscripts, asking me to review papers. I will never forget how genuinely pleased he looked, and how heartily -- in his characteristically reserved yet warm way -- he congratulated me when I got a job offer. I don't know how he did it, but in every one of these interactions, and innumerably many more, he taught me something. And I will always be grateful."

This tribute was added by Fernanda Ferreira on 27th January 2015

"Keith was an exceptional scientist and friend. Most of you know about his many accomplishments, but not everyone had the opportunity to know how generous he was. In grad school, his door was always open, and when you'd ask "can I talk to you for a minute", the answer was invariably "yes". He also was an amazing tennis player (as I recall watching him play out on the tennis courts outside Tobin Hall)!

One of my fondest memories of Keith is dragging him on a shopping trip after a study section meeting in DC. I still remember him with me in a BCBG store diplomatically suggesting I choose a green sweater instead of my usual black. As always, Keith was right.

I'm really going to miss him."

This tribute was added by Matt Abbott on 27th January 2015

"Very few people could respond to "So what have you done with your life?" (truthfully) with, "Well, I inspired an entire field of scientific inquiry". Keith Rayner could have, but that isn't the kind of person that he was.

Keith was gentle, unassuming, provocative, quietly brilliant: the very qualities that initially terrified me as a budding scientist. Over time though, I learned that "Matt, come into my office" was often a light request, sometimes meaning "I've locked myself out of my iPad and I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone else"; I learned just how deeply he cared for every one of his students and colleagues; I learned that dozens of us were willing to devote our professional lives to studying the work of the eyes during reading because of the spectacle that he made it.

It's a great privilege to have worked with such an astounding scientist, and I'm very sad to see him go. However, it has also become clear to me just how brilliant and supportive the community (family, perhaps) that he built around himself really is, and I am proud to be a part of it. Rest in peace.

-Matt Abbott"

This tribute was added by Guojie Ma on 26th January 2015

"Dear Keith,

When I heard the bad news from my advisor Xingshan Li,I was shocked and felt so much sorrow. I have benefited a lot from your wisdom in both scientific research and daily life.

As a grandson of you in the neurotree, I admired your great contributions to psychological science, selfless cultivation of future researchers, and your braveness in fighting with illness. All these will be inherited from generation to generation.

We will remember you forever.

From Guojie Ma
Institute of Psychology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences"


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