ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Bill Van Fleet.

He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth who resides in Washington, D.C.

Bill was well known in the religious and intellectual community of Charlotte, NC and beyond. He worked a majority of his life as a trained psychotherapist helping many families and individuals overcome their mental health and emotional difficulties.

Bill's final full retirement from psychotherapy in 2014 led him down a path heavily immersed in philosophy. He developed what he named "Humanianity - The Religion for Humanity" which had a single requirement... to make a commitment to try to live one's life in a manner which is rationally consistent with what he named the HUEP - Humanian Ultimate Ethical Principle.

We should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation (JCA) as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED) as possible, for everyone, now and in the future.
Humanity would be well served to strive for and obtain such a wonderful ethic.

We will remember him forever.
Posted by Bruce Wiley on March 28, 2021
I met Bill five years ago in a Humanist group at the Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte. New to the area and church, I looked forward to those monthly discussions, which were always elevated by his rational discourse and respectful tone. He seemed to come from a place of reason, compassion and tolerance. I got the sense listening to him that despite ongoing manifestations of our innate tribalism, he had confidence in the “slow creep of progress” made possible by science and secular reason. It will be hard for me to imagine my UUCC Humanist connection going forward without Bill.
Posted by Marco Reed on March 27, 2021
Thank you .

You’ve created a space in a time in my life where I was lost . I didn’t have anywhere to turn to , no one understood me and I just felt alone . In 2013 I found your group and been so thankful ever since . I wish we had more time to have that conversation. But you will forever live on in my memory.

-Marco
Posted by Joyce Anderson on March 27, 2021
My heart hurts for Bill’s passing! I shared my thought with Minette (Cathey) that I thought Bill would live forever and I would get one more dance with this great guy - my regret. I had much respect for this very wise and down-to-earth man. He put me on the dance floor many, many times for HOURS (six, to be exact) at a time. I learned so much about living, life, and dance because of him. He always said, “This will make you more marketable!” ...and it did! Bill, I’ll always cherish our time shared and your TM pocket protector! 
Posted by Joseph Spencer on March 22, 2021
Bill and I enjoyed lunch together about once a month, me trying to eat a healthy salad and Bill, doing the same. He led an exceptionally healthy life, physically, morally, ethically. Our conversations improved my thinking / problem solving especially in the area of personal relationships. His website, Humanianity had significant insights for me that helped with a few problems I was working through at the time. He will be missed.
Posted by Susan Beasley on March 17, 2021
It has been heartwarming reading all the tributes to Bill from his community of friends - people whose lives he touched in many ways. I have known Bill for only a few years and usually saw him when I practiced clogging with Cathey Franklin at her home or at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always admired his intellect and quiet manner. It was a very pleasant and intriguing experience to be in his company and I always wanted to know more about him. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Posted by Adele Greenfield on March 16, 2021
I had the privilege of being with Bill during joyful times - dancing. Bill loved ballroom dancing and was a great leader. No doubt it helped him stay fit for many years. Not only did I get to dance with him but he came to many of our clogging performances to support the team members, especially Cathey, his dear friend and housemate. So I will remember happy moments and, above all, his smile.
Posted by taryn hofert on March 16, 2021
Bill was such a precious, inspirational soul. I am just now finding out about his passing and had so hoped that I'd run into him during the pandemic on one of his walks around the pond at Freedom Park sporting his Humanianity t-shirt. His years at our church Watershed are dear to me and one of the things that always stuck out to me was that his journey toward a more compassionate way of living was based on a longing to have been an improved more compassionate and loving parent through the years. While I don't know the whole story, I took his words to heart in my own parenting and will forever miss his presence. Rest Well, Bill. we will always love you!
Posted by Cathey Franklin on March 16, 2021
The past 2 weeks have been the most difficult I have ever experienced. Bill roomed at my house for many years and we have been close friends almost 30 years. HIs loss has been devastating for me and I am just beginning to accept the reality of it. I am most fortunate to have a small but very supportive family and a bunch of wonderful, supportive friends. I have been staying all over the place because I hate to come home to the empty house with Bill not here. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of you. My family will host a celebration of life later in the spring. It will be a beautiful event, very informal, and you all will be invited.
Posted by Matt O'Neil on March 15, 2021
In our earliest days at Watershed, Bill and I would have lunch together about once a month. Bill's ideas about reality, god, and evolution were not only refreshing but challenging and eye-opening. Those of us who knew Bill are deeply saddened by his passing and offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends. 
Posted by Melba Evans on March 13, 2021
Bill was such an asset to Wedgewood Church, where he was a member. He was one of the first people there every Sunday morning. He loved Wedgewood and Wedgewood loved Bill. He once said that Wedgewood Church encompassed what Humanianity was all about. He taught us all so much and made us think deeper and reflect more. We all love him and will miss him, but will never forget Bill Van Fleet.
Posted by Steven Rast on March 13, 2021
Hi, I, like many others, was influenced by Bill's presence. I did not meet Bill until January of 2019, but my recent acquaintance was a strong one. I did many Humanianity conversations on You Tube. I was one of the top participants. Also, was a regular at his Sunday night philosophy group as well as the Tuesday night Humanianity group. Hos dedication to making this crazy world a better place will be missed. Bill also attended the Sunday morning discussion group at the Episcopal Church of our Savior in Rock Hill. Iw ill miss him greatly as will so any he influenced. May I see you again in that Mystery beyond all human understanding. Rest well until we meet again. Your friend, Steve
Posted by Jordan Thompson on March 13, 2021
Bill was quite a powerful person to me. I know very few who were as committed to their personal projects. He made me feel as though I wasn't alone in wanting to dedicate my life to changing/saving the world, even if it didn't seem all that likely to succeed. He had an aura of immense confidence about him, as if there was no question about what his- and dare I say humanity's- mission in life was. I imagine his efforts will be among the few which motivate me in my darkest times. I'll cherish my memories with him and the groups he hosted in Charlotte. Hopefully we'll continue the spirit of Humanianity with our actions. Thank you Bill
Posted by Kris Tyte on March 10, 2021
Bill and I logged hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of debate and one on one discussions. He used to visit me once or twice a week at my office off of Queen City Drive. We would sit together for hours in the conference room, usually long into the evening discussing life, religion, philosophy, and of course Humanianity.

There were times I'd think about things we discussed and I'd apply them to my life and benefit, for example, his philosophy on Rational Ethical Child Rearing helped me get closer to my children.

I will miss you Bill... your personality, your council, your wit, your insight... but most of all your friendship. Rest in Peace my friend.
Posted by Pravin Ben on March 10, 2021
Bill I will forever miss you you were a like a mentor to me. With your outstanding knowledge of philosophy and psychology impressed me a lot. I will carry memory of you with me always.
Posted by Mariela Busheva on March 10, 2021
Dear Bill, I am truly heartbroken and deeply saddened from the news of your passing. You have been a huge part of my life with many life changing events, good and bad, since 2005.
“..mariela, who with me being her most difficult student graciously excepted my efforts to teach her” you said. You have always been the wise one and have tried to better my perspectives ... I will miss our long conversations and you trying to shape me to be a better human being.
I was even able to “pressure” you to perform once. And remember our very first ballroom dance agreement 16 years ago almost to the day, I had to sign that I will never ask you to perform?! You called your self a “ballroom dance addict” and we have spend some many wonderful hours on the dance floor together! Ohhhh...how i will miss you! Always!
The ballroom dance community will never be the same without you! You have touched so many lives with your selfishness and striving always to give back to the community and the world!
RIP my dear friend! 
Until we meet again!
Posted by Margie Storch on March 10, 2021
Bill was an asset to our Humanist group at the Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte.... always taking the long view, understanding that humans are evolving and a work in progress, and encouraging kind, respectful communication. We will miss Bill and strive to carry forward his kindness and wisdom.
Posted by Timothy Peacock on March 10, 2021
I didn't know Bill super well, but I know for sure he was passionate about philosophy and, especially, his Humanianity project. He was a fun person to converse with, and I will keep him alive in my memories. Bill was there, along with the other members of Charlotte Atheist & Agnostics, when I first came out as an atheist, and was a great help to me.
Posted by Cosmo Myers on March 9, 2021
Bill sponsored and lead the Charlotte Philosophy Discussion group for 14 years. I've participated and benefited from these discussions he promoted. He was calm, tolerant, benevolent, even handed, humble, ...
Perhaps that explains the 1692 members his group has.
He made a lasting difference in my life; and I'll carry him on.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Bruce Wiley on March 28, 2021
I met Bill five years ago in a Humanist group at the Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte. New to the area and church, I looked forward to those monthly discussions, which were always elevated by his rational discourse and respectful tone. He seemed to come from a place of reason, compassion and tolerance. I got the sense listening to him that despite ongoing manifestations of our innate tribalism, he had confidence in the “slow creep of progress” made possible by science and secular reason. It will be hard for me to imagine my UUCC Humanist connection going forward without Bill.
Posted by Marco Reed on March 27, 2021
Thank you .

You’ve created a space in a time in my life where I was lost . I didn’t have anywhere to turn to , no one understood me and I just felt alone . In 2013 I found your group and been so thankful ever since . I wish we had more time to have that conversation. But you will forever live on in my memory.

-Marco
Posted by Joyce Anderson on March 27, 2021
My heart hurts for Bill’s passing! I shared my thought with Minette (Cathey) that I thought Bill would live forever and I would get one more dance with this great guy - my regret. I had much respect for this very wise and down-to-earth man. He put me on the dance floor many, many times for HOURS (six, to be exact) at a time. I learned so much about living, life, and dance because of him. He always said, “This will make you more marketable!” ...and it did! Bill, I’ll always cherish our time shared and your TM pocket protector! 
Recent stories

Bill's "Relevant Autobiography"

Shared by Kris Tyte on March 9, 2021
The following is what Bill wrote about himself, which he titled his "Relevant Autobiography."


I am a retired psychiatrist, who for about fifty years treated children, adolescents, adults, and the aged, utilizing both psychotherapeutic and pharmacological modalities. I have since my teens been essentially atheistic, but have always been interested in philosophy and religion, as ways to understand my existence, and existence in general, in as basic a way as possible. For many years I attended the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, and I attended the weekly Philosophy Discussion Group there for over ten years. Subsequently I have attended various Christian churches or church activities, but have not identified with or joined any religious organization. For a number of years I have been the organizer of the Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group. And over recent years I have spent several thousand hours pursuing the gradually emerging understanding of the phenomena that I have labeled “Humanianity,” and that I am now trying to share.

My undergraduate education was undertaken at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology, and a Master of Science degree in Psychology (Personality Theory). This education was simultaneous with my pre-medical curriculum. I then entered the George Washington University School of Medicine and obtained my Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in 1961. After a year of mixed medicine internship at the District of Columbia General Hospital, I undertook my psychiatric residency for three years at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC. My areas of special interest at that time were psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy, family psychotherapy, and milieu therapy. During my residency, I developed two therapeutic communities (in which the social structure of the ward is used as a tool in healing and promotion of personal growth). During my training (and subsequently), I undertook several years of personal psychoanalysis.

Following my training in psychiatry, I served as a psychiatrist at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital for two years. I then came to practice at John Umstead Hospital, the state psychiatric hospital in Butner, NC, for two and a half years, during which time I developed another therapeutic community.

I then entered a two-year child psychiatry and community psychiatry fellowship at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, where I further studied family psychotherapy and was trained in child psychotherapy. I also became a consultant at the C. A. Dillon School in Butner, the maximum security correctional school for the juvenile justice system, continuing in that role for about five years, treating severely dysfunctional adolescents at the school.

For a half year after the two years of child and community psychiatry training, I returned to work at John Umstead Hospital on an adult unit, and then became the director of the Children and Youth Unit at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, NC, another state psychiatric hospital. There I again developed an intensive milieu therapy program (therapeutic community), as well as providing family psychotherapy for many of the children and youth there. After four and a half years, I relocated to Shelby, NC to become the Director of Clinical Services at the Community Mental Health Center. After two and a quarter years, I began my private practice of psychiatry, as described above, beginning in 1979 and ending with final retirement at the end of 2014.

During my private practice, I began to utilize my own "anger management paradigm" (later changed to "anger prevention paradigm," to distinguish it from other efforts that became popular) in my work with couples, primarily, but I began to see the general relevance of the paradigm in understanding our most basic societal problems, from intrafamilial and interpersonal relationships to international relationships. Also, I came to identify what I believe to be an alternative model of child rearing, alternative to the standard model (with its many variations). The standard model is my name for that model used unless parenting figures specifically know how to do otherwise by virtue of a set of consistent principles, and practices derived from them, acquired through specific training in child rearing, something that our society currently does not provide. My clinical experience and the insights obtained from it came after I experienced the problems within my own life as I attempted to participate in rearing two children within the standard model.

Throughout my life, I have maintained a love for philosophy, including epistemology, ontology, and the philosophies of science and ethics. Through my study of various philosophies, including that done in the Philosophy Discussion Group, increasing connections began to occur between philosophical issues and the practical issues mentioned in the last paragraph. As these connections began to occur, I began leading groups in "anger management" and "child rearing," and the coalescence of all of these ideas and activities brought me to the need to write my first book, in which this coalescence is described. I have used the ideas in that book every day in personal ways that have helped my life to have more meaning and effectiveness, as well as in ways that have helped others. That book is entititled Rational-Ethical Living and the Emergence of ‘Homo Rationalis’: FOR EVERYONE (The Most Important Book). It is free for everyone. (None of my efforts regarding Humanianity or this set of websites has been for, or resulted in, any financial remuneration, these temporal and financial contributions of mine being my way of “tithing,” a way of “paying forward.”)

At the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, starting in 2002, I conducted an Optimal Living Seminar as the companion to the developing book, and it enriched the book further with the insights and experiences reported by the group members. Just as the book was written "for everyone," so was the seminar designed "for everyone." It dealt with our most basic concerns as a species, in as basic a way possible. The book and seminar were efforts to make use of what I had learned in order to do my part to make the world a better place for everyone, insofar as possible.

In more recent years, I have attempted to formulate more precisely, and elaborate on more extensively, this basic set of ideas about how our species can, if we are fortunate and if we can learn to cooperate with each other to a greater extent, arrive at a far, far better way of life than we have ever known. This has led to my awareness that our religions, which are our effort to live our lives in the best possible way, are crucial to our moving ahead toward this desirable future way of being. This means that improvement in our religions will be both cause and effect of our changing ourselves psychosocially.

Seeing all of our religions as moving up their separate paths on the “mountain” of improvement suggests that the top of the mountain is something that we can begin to identify in our imagination. That top of the mountain I have labeled “Humanianity, the Religion for Humanity.” Until that time arrives, Humanianity is a label for the movement toward the top of the mountain, occurring to a greater or lesser extent in most of our religions, and in the ethics of our species in general.

I see all of our religions wrestling with the psychosocial changes that we have increasingly made as we have moved ahead from the time when we lived much more like chimpanzees, with almost no ability to communicate verbally, and as we have become increasingly amazed by and dependent upon the extremely accurate set of models of reality provided by the sciences with their adherence to the rules of logic and the rules of evidence. In this context, our religious writings, once considered textbooks, now increasingly are coming to be regarded as diaries, through which we can, through our developing a bird’s eye view of ourselves over large periods of time, come to understand even more clearly these important changes we are undergoing.

Because of this evolving set of ideas, and because of my wish to make a contribution, I have been making efforts to use our modern technology to provide opportunity for those who are interested in participation in the discussion of all of these issues. To that end, I have organized in recent years the Meetup.com group called the Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group, in which the understanding is that we are exploring and debating all of our fundamental ideas, with the idea that depth of understanding comes about most readily when we explore the basic reasons for our differences of opinion.

In addition, I have been exploring some approaches possible with our Internet technology, this set of websites being a part of that effort. I am grateful for the help that I am receiving from those who are similarly interested in working for our future generations through the use of whatever methods we acquire as we move ahead as a species. I also believe that such work in behalf of future generations can have a very beneficial effect on the quality of one's life now, and even be of benefit to others within one's sphere of influence.