Kenneth - 83
April 20, 2019
Dr. Kenneth Laughery, Ph.D., age 83, died on April 20, 2019 at Agrace Hospice in Janesville, Wisconsin from complications associated with Parkinson's disease. Ken was born in 1935 in Rowes Run, Pennsylvania to Kenny and Evelyn Laughery. He attended high school in Uniontown, Pennsylvania where he excelled in academics, football and wrestling. Ken married high school sweetheart Lottie Mae Cosgrove in 1954 and they had four children. After raising their kids Ken and Lottie parted ways in 1992 but remained friends for life. Ken married Brenda Resneck in Houston in 1996 and they moved from Houston, TX to Janesville, WI in 2007. Ken earned a B.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering, a Master's degree and Ph.D. in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University. After graduating from college, Ken spent a year working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying artificial intelligence and in the Army as a research psychologist. He joined the faculty of State University of New York at Buffalo in 1963. Over the course of his 9 years in Buffalo, he was promoted to a full Professor and became chair of the Industrial Engineering department. In 1969 Ken spent a sabbatical year as a visiting professor at the University of Sussex, England. During that year he discovered his passion for travel. In 1972, Ken became chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Houston. In 1984, he joined Rice University as the Henry R. Luce Professor of Engineering Psychology. He retired from teaching in 2002 and took the position of Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Rice University. Over the course of Ken's academic career, he became a world-renowned expert in the field of human factors and ergonomics, where he conducted groundbreaking research. He was the author of over 500 publications that included numerous books and articles in scholarly journals. Ken was a member and served on the executive boards of the International Ergonomics Association and the National Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (and was elected President in 1991). Throughout Ken's career, he also worked as a human factors expert witness. In this role, he was able to use his academic background and credentials to help lawyers prove that workplace and consumer injuries were often the result of poor design and dangerous jobs, not human mistakes. Ken and Brenda worked as a team on hundreds of personal injury cases involving a wide range of accidents. When Ken finally retired at 80-years old, he was widely considered to be one of, if not the best expert witness in the field of human factors worldwide. His passion for travel continued with Brenda and they visited over 61 countries and all 7 continents together. Ken was an avid baseball fan, hunter and fisherman. He looked forward to spending time with his closest friends George, Jim, and Richard hunting deer, elk, ducks, pheasants, and alligators. Ambition, intelligence, and hard work had much to do with Ken's successes, equally important were his kindness, generosity, quick wit, and loving nature and he will be dearly missed. Ken is survived by his wife Brenda and his four children - Ron (Mary Beth) of Boulder, CO; Tim (Lynne) of Round Lake, IL; Terri Kelley of Belton, TX; and Keith (Jan) of Houston, TX, as well as five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. The family would like to express their gratitude and thank you to Agrace Hospice inpatient unit in Janesville for being kind, caring and attentive with Ken. We would like to thank our home caregivers, Marjorie, Alicia, Holly, Allison, and Eveonyia who took such excellent care of Ken during the past 7 months and a special thank you to Eveonyia for her patience, kindness and loving nature while Ken was at Agrace. A celebration of Ken's life will be held on a later date. Memorials may be made in Ken's honor to Agrace Hospice Inpatient Unit, 2901 N. Wright Road, Janesville, WI 53546.