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In Memory of

Marcus J. Wiesner

September 13, 2015

Obituary

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Marcus (Mark) J. Wiesner, of Montclair, N.J., a clinical psychologist and noted Hitler scholar and, in his youth, an award-winning Staten Island Advance reporter and star athlete on football teams at New Dorp High School and Wagner College, died Sunday at his daughter's home in West Orange, N.J. He was 82 years old.

The Rosebank native won All-City honors in his senior year at New Dorp when the squad, coached by the legendary Sal Somma, was the only undefeated Public School Athletic League team. As a junior, he played on the first New Dorp team to defeat its longtime rival, Curtis High School. He played guard in high school and tackle in college.

At the time of his induction into the Wagner College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, it was recalled that his college coach, Jim Lee Howell, later head coach of the New York Giants, was quoted in the Advance as saying: "Mark could play on any team in the country." In an era when players played both offense and defense, Mr. Wiesner at one time held the record for most consecutive minutes played 480. He was co-captain of the squad in 1953, his senior year, and won the Robb Memorial trophy, awarded at homecoming, as most valuable player. In 2005, he was inducted into the New Dorp High School Hall of Fame.

As a reporter for the Advance, he, with his colleague, Michael Azzara, received the Citizens Budget Commission award for outstanding journalism for their series on issues connected to the borough's development.

Mr. Wiesner left the Advance to join the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay, serving as public relations director and an assistant commissioner of the Department of Licenses, then the Department of Consumer Affairs, and lastly as executive assistant in the Office of Staten Island Development for Mayor Lindsay.

He then became a speech writer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he also served as director of community relations and was credited with being the initiator of a multimillion-dollar school soundproofing program that sought to alleviate the distractions of airport noise at P.A. airports. He was honored for his achievements by the Queens borough president and school districts near Kennedy International Airport.

Mr. Wiesner also arranged for "Black Wings" -- the National Smithsonian Museum exhibit honoring African-American contributions to U.S. aviation history -- to visit the Newark Museum under the auspices of the Port Authority.

Making a career change in mid-life, the Wagner College graduate began his study of psychology, receiving his master's degree from New York University and his Ph.D. from Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco. For more than a decade, he was a clinical psychologist at Northern State Prison in N.J., serving inmates living with mental illness. He had maintained a private practice in Montclair since becoming licensed as a clinical psychologist in 1992.

Mr. Wiesner, who lost family members at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during the Holocaust, became a noted Hitler scholar. He published several scholarly works, most notably a groundbreaking study of Adolf Hitler, "Destruction Artist: An Interpretive Study of Adolph Hitler," and an in-depth psychological study on Albert Speer, Hitler's chief architect during World War II. He also published articles on the work of psychologist Karen Horney.

An avid reader, essayist and poet, he contributed many short stories and poems to literary magazines, and his novel, "The Murder Artist," was awarded honorary mention by Writer's Digest Magazine in 2010. Another novel, "The Heifer Chronicles," was published under the pen name, Marc Joseph.

During his time on the Island, he was an executive in the New York State Liberal Party. He was a dogged campaigner for social justice and human rights, and his letters to the editor in behalf of his convictions appeared in The New York Times and his hometown paper, the Montclair Times.

His wife, the former Lorraine Murphy, died in 1995.

Surviving are his daughter, Annabel Wiesner Tirado; his son, Neal; his life partner, the Reverend Terry Troia, and his godson, Chakthip Phongdapki.

"I am profoundly grateful for the 20 years we shared. Mark was an extraordinary human being, a husband and father who loved without measure, a talented novelist and poet, an expert clinician, a dedicated scholar absorbed by the quest to understand and conquer evil, a passionate human rights activist. He was known as the "Ironman" for his extraordinary athletic prowess on the football field. But his strength was deeper and wider than the limits of his body and we carry that strength with us, as we go on," Rev. Troia said.

There will be a memorial service Friday at 3 p.m. at the Joan and Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center, Sea View. Arrangements were handled by the Harmon Home for Funerals, West Brighton.

By Staten Island Advance
on September 14, 2015 at 5:20 PM, updated September 14, 2015 at 10:30 PM

 


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