Compiled by Dr. A. David Mangelsdorff. Copyright @ 2023, A. David Mangelsdorff. All Rights Reserved.
This is presented as an educational exercise only.
Dr. Mangelsdorff has not been discovered dead at his desk -- yet.


It is written in Ecclesiastes that there comes a time and to everything, there is a season. Dr. A. David Mangelsdorff, professor emeritus with Baylor University has died. He was a health psychologist, Fulbright faculty scholar, research consultant, theatre patron, military officer (full colonel), civil servant, and traveler over many seas and paths. A noted scholar, teacher, and philanthropist, this Damn-Yankee's life was a quest for expanding his knowledge, solving problems, teaching, writing, and testing the limits. Born in New York City in 1945, he was the only son of Dr. Arthur F. Mangelsdorff and Maesie Rowland Mangelsdorff, and grandson of Max F. Mangelsdorff and Antonia Kleineberg. An active genealogist, he was the twelfth (and last) generation of Mangelsdorffs who traced their paternal German roots into the 1500s and shared connections to founding families in the American colonies.

Raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1962 he attended an introductory course to science, mathematics, and computer technology at the University of New Hampshire. He won the Navy Cruiser award at the Greater Newark Science Fair competition and graduated from Plainfield High School where he was in the National Honor Society and received the Optimist Club Award at graduation. He went to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, earned honors, was in the Green Key Honor Society, co-chaired the Cosmopolitan Club, edited his class yearbook, and conducted independent psychophysiological research during his senior year. He studied English literature at Oxford University where he learned to appreciate Chaucer's description of the Oxford (student) clerk who was ready to "gladly learn and gladly teach." Following graduation in 1967, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the USNR, served clinical research clerkships, and conducted psychophysiological research at the Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Groton, Connecticut. He attended the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware on NASA and teaching fellowships, earning master's and doctorate degrees in Psychology in 1972. He was recognized as a member of Psi Chi (psychology) and Sigma Xi. After commissioning through Army ROTC, he came to San Antonio in 1972 to teach drug and alcohol education at the Medical Field Service School as a uniformed psychologist. Later as a civil servant, he served as technical director for the Health Care Studies and Clinical Investigation Activity at Fort Sam Houston. He earned a master's degree in English from St. Mary's University and a master's in public health from the University of Texas School of Public Health in San Antonio. He graduated from the National Defense University in 1990. He spent his career teaching and conducting applied research.

From 1973 through 2016, he mentored and taught for the Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration influencing over 1,300 military officers of whom at least 50 went on to earn doctorates. In his work as a faculty research fellow for the Baylor Oral History Institute, he documented the history and contributions of the Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration to federal healthcare. With Dr. Larry Johnson, he interviewed almost 50 graduates and program directors about their Baylor experiences. His publication Health Care Statesmen Forged Under Fire: The Army-Baylor University Master of [Hospital]/Health Administration Program Story analyzed the graduate program accomplishments.

He served as an adviser to the Target 90 Goals for San Antonio, the Bexar County Medical Society, and also as co-chairperson of the disaster mental health response committee of the San Antonio American Red Cross. He hoped that some of his graduate students were able to recall and apply the lessons learned from the all-hazards group dynamics exercises for the organizational behavior classes. There were many examples of lessons learned from past mass disasters and epidemic scenarios from his teaching and scholarship that translated into practical applications.

A health psychologist, he was active in the leadership of the Division of Military Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA), serving three tours on the Council of Representatives and over 30 years in APA leadership positions. He was an energetic scholar and writer on military psychology, occupational health, operational stress, terrorism, patient attitudes, professional retention factors, psychological support, and curriculum outcomes. He served as an editor for the journal Military Psychology, and on the editorial review board of numerous journals. In 2000 after 30 years, he retired as a Colonel from the Army Reserves. He organized many operational stress workshops and programs around the world for the military and NATO during the 1980s and 90s. He chaired the NATO Research Study Group on Psychological Support, represented the United States State Department as a consultant to the embassy of Suriname, chaired United States stress research groups for NATO and The Technical Cooperation Program, and served as a program director of the German-American Officer Exchange Program. His scholarship contributed significantly to documenting the evolution of the major contributions of psychology to national security and to defining the field of military psychology. His edited works included the Handbook of Military Psychology (also a Chinese edition), Psychology in the Service of National Security, Military Cohesion, U. S. Army-Baylor University Health Care Administration 50 Year History, the military psychology section of the Encyclopedia of Psychology, APA Dictionary of Psychology, numerous conference and stress workshop proceedings, among his 600 plus papers, presentations, and reports. Overall, he published articles in seven decades.

He earned recognition as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, and Sigma Xi. He won a Fulbright faculty scholarship in 2003 to study demographics in Germany. One of his personal goals as a Fulbright scholar was to walk in the footsteps of his ancestors around Berlin and its suburbs; he accomplished that objective.

For 20 years, he served as the Dartmouth alumni class secretary and necrologist writing alumni columns and maintaining a class web page. It was a logical continuation of his being the editor of the Aegis, the undergraduate class yearbook.

His philanthropic interests included endowing multi-disciplinary professorships continuing his research and teaching in homeland defense and national security at Dartmouth College, St. Mary's University, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, School of Medicine, the University of Delaware, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, School of Allied Health Sciences, the University of Texas School of Public Health at San Antonio, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of the Incarnate Word, Baylor University, the Cooper Union, Sigma Xi, and Rutgers University. He created trusts to support military student veterans at Dartmouth College, University of Delaware, Baylor University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and at the University of the Incarnate Word. With his partner Dr. Linda A. Smith, they created a professorship with Texas A&M University (Cybersecurity). The endowed professorships and trusts represented a legacy of investing in multidisciplinary scholarship, higher education, national security, and homeland defense.

A plaque on a statue at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. reads “the past is prologue.” For Dr. Mangelsdorff that included his love of travel, the sea, submarines, and oceanic and outer space exploration. For his application to Dartmouth College, an essay was requested about a notable biography; he selected Jacques Cousteau’s The Living Sea. He was commissioned as a naval officer, served research clerkships at the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, conducted research on submariners, and got to sail on several of the nuclear boats. He continued studying the use of submarines for national defense and incorporated selected naval lessons learned and strategy into his lectures. His naval graduate students appreciated having a professor who could translate and speak some of their jargon. He followed his oath to serve, protect, and defend the nation. Bravo Zulu!

Professor Mangelsdorff felt privileged to have received superb educational experiences and opportunities such as the faculty Fulbright faculty scholarship and studying at Oxford University in England. He felt a responsibility for serving his nation and community. Ulysses (in Tennyson’s poem) notes his determination to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. He was blessed watching his legacy (his students) go on to be successful leaders in the armed services in the United States and abroad. His pride of felines provided faithful companionship, though they routinely failed to remember the phone numbers of callers. His journey included seeking continual opportunities for growth and development, adapting to changes, and resetting his azimuth. Dr. Mangelsdorff's charge to his graduate students (mostly military officers): serve proudly; be a good steward of your blessings; return more than you receive. He served as a servant leader, full professor, Fulbright faculty scholar, full colonel, herder of cats, and full of himself. His odyssey is completed. The traveler has ended his journey; thank God it’s finished. No regrets. Lessons learned. Bravo Zulu!

He honored his friends, family, and ancestors by creating a Virtual Cemetery hosted on Find-A-Grave. An extended version of the obit is available here.

"gladly learn and gladly teach"