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Ohde remembered as consummate teacher, researcher

Feb. 15, 2018, 9:52 AM


Ralph Ohde, PhD, professor emeritus of Hearing and Speech Sciences at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, died Jan. 8. He was 73.

Ralph Ohde, PhD

Dr. Ohde taught speech science at Vanderbilt for more than 30 years, including graduate level courses in articulation disorders, phonology, phonetics, speech acoustics, speech perception and anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanisms. He was consistently a favorite of his students and won numerous teaching awards, including an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the University of Michigan at the beginning of his career and the Robert D. Collins Award for Teaching in a Lecture Setting from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2010.

“Ralph educated hundreds of clinical and research speech-language pathologists throughout his career,” said Anne Marie Tharpe, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and associate director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center. “Our profession has lost a notable researcher in the area of speech perception and acoustics. But, more important, we have lost a most compassionate and effective teacher, colleague and friend.”

Dr. Ohde was originally from Appleton, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor’s degree from Carthage College in 1966 and his master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Virginia in 1968. After working for several years as a speech language pathologist, he received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1978. He pursued post-doctoral studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and came to Vanderbilt in 1981.

Dr. Ohde published widely in the field of articulation and speech perception. The focus of his research program at Vanderbilt was to study how young children perceive and produce speech sounds as compared to adults. The ultimate goal of this research was to provide information on developmental models of speech perception and production in children, and to compare the performances of typically developing children to children with speech and hearing disorders. Consistent with this goal, Dr. Ohde studied speech perception and production in several disordered populations, including children with articulation disorders, specific language impairment and fluency disorders.

Dr. Ohde was the associate editor of speech production for the Journal of the Acoustical Society from 1990 to 1993 and a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; siblings Patricia Beyers, Judith Ohde, Gretchen Stine, and James Ohde; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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