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L. Dodge Fernald

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Memories & Candles

“Hello Fernalds. As my first high school soccer coach, Dodge taught us to be fair, to have fun, and to try new skills with optimism. He coached with...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: A friend

“I too was fortunate enough to have Professor Fernald, along with Claire Zimmerman, as my professor in Psychology 101 at Wellesley College. It was in...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Susan Austrian - CHestnut Hill, MA

Wellesley Dynamo 1975(?) “Marjorie, Cin, Darce, Steph and Kirk - My thoughts, love and condolences to you all. Dodge was, and will always be, a pivotal person in the life of...Read More »
3 of 9 | Posted by: Bob Little - Acton, MA

“At age 21 back in 1979, I had my very first university teaching experience as Dodge's assistant at the Harvard summer school. What a wonderful guy -...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Neil Kressel - Wayne, NJ

“My love to Marjorie, Kirk, Stephanie, Darcy, Lucinda and all Dodge's grandchildren including my two nephews, Maxwell and Liam. It was a pleasure...Read More »
5 of 9 | Posted by: A friend

“Oh how well I remember your dad, always with verve and mischief, and such agility of mind and body both! Feel fortunate to have known in succession...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Polly Ingraham - Hopkinton, NH

“Professor Fernald was my psychology 101 professor at Wellesley College in 1970. He was a wonderful teacher. I remember a chapter of his book showing...Read More »
7 of 9 | Posted by: Laura Bookman - Weston, MA

“My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends during this difficult time. I hope that the promise in 1Thessalonians 4:14 can bring comfort...Read More »
8 of 9 | Posted by: A friend

“Stephanie and Darcy,Thinking of you 2 and all of the fantastic soccer memories of the times with you and your Dad in Wellesley. Take care- Lisa G...Read More »
9 of 9 | Posted by: A friend


On March 1, Dodge Fernald of Wellesley died as he had lived, with courage and kindness.
Dodge was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Lloyd Dodge Fernald and Gladys Neff Fernald. Together with his brothers, Kent, Jack and Peter, he enjoyed a childhood enlivened by sports and pranks. He embraced enough academic rigor at The Hotchkiss School, in addition to captaining the varsity basketball team, to attend Amherst College, where he displayed his athletic talent on the soccer and lacrosse fields. In 1955, during four years of service in the Navy, Dodge married his college sweetheart, Marjorie Maxwell. Together they port-hopped around the Mediterranean Sea, Dodge on the vessels Des Moines and Newport News and Marjorie with a group of Navy wives. Upon leaving the Navy, Dodge earned a master's degree from Harvard University. Although committed to the discipline of psychology, he hopped among colleges as he had among Navy seaports. After earning his doctoral degree, he taught at Bowdoin College, Cornell University, and Wellesley College, with sojourns as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Madrid and the University of Santiago de Compostela. Eventually he returned to Harvard as Assistant Dean of Harvard Extension School, and he relished teaching the course dreaded by other professors - the undergraduate course in introductory psychology. In 2012 he retired after 51 years of teaching. In addition to entertaining and stimulating students with his lectures, Dodge authored a number of books on psychology. During decades of writing, he developed a signature approach that explained psychology through stories -- written by his students, inspired by his children, and reflecting six perspectives of psychology. Interviewed by a grandchild near the end of his life, Dodge declared his hobby to be "playing with words." Dodge was best known in Wellesley as a soccer coach. After coaching the men's varsity team at Bowdoin College, he found his true calling as a coach of the Purples, Blacks, Hotspur, Rowdies, and Clovers (the first girls' team in Wellesley), among other youth teams in the Wellesley town league, the Boston Area Youth Soccer League, and at Wellesley High School. Dodge had an unusual ability to meet his players at their level and combine their individual strengths to build teams with skill and spirit. Dodge's infectious enthusiasm, sense of humor, and consideration of others are his treasured legacy. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Marjorie; his children, Lucinda, Darcy, Stephanie and Kirk; his brother, Peter; and his grandchildren, Tyler, Alexa, Lucinda, Liam, Ann Foster and Max.
Although Alzheimer's disease eventually stole Dodge's ability to captivate his listeners with a story, he cheered others with quips even in his final days. To celebrate Dodge's memory, his relatives, students, players and friends are encouraged to bring laughter into someone's life through a pun, joke or wordplay. Family and friends will gather to celebrate Dodge's life at the Wellesley College Club on April 15. For more information, email rememberdodge@gmail.com.