Earl Alfred Loomis Jr.

Dr. Earl Alfred Loomis

Noted child psychiatrist Dr. Earl Alfred Loomis died May 10 in Greenport at the age of 89, after a lifetime of service to children and a pioneering career in psychiatry.

During his long career, Dr. Loomis trained and worked with many notable figures in the fields of psychiatry, psychoanalysis and religion, including Erich H. Erickson, Jean Piaget, Margaret Mahler, Benjamin Spock, Margaret Mead and Paul Tillich.

He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1946 and, in the early 1950s, continued his career in research with Benjamin Spock in the child psychiatry and child development department at the University of Pittsburgh.

In 1956, Dr. Loomis broke new ground by developing a department at Union Theological Seminary that linked psychiatry and religion — fields that at the time were considered incompatible.

In 1960, he published the book “The Self in Pilgrimage,” which Reinhold Niebuhr described as dealing “in a new way with the religious dimension of selfhood.” He went on to publish many other scholarly works on children and psychiatry as well as substance abuse and chemical dependency.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Loomis is widely recognized for his service at the Blueberry Treatment Center in Brooklyn, where he worked with schizophrenic children and family psychotherapy. He also spent almost 20 years in Augusta, Ga., where he chaired the department of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. He retired in 1979 and returned to his home in Greenport.

Dr. Loomis is survived by his wife of 40 years, Muriel (Merly) Peabody Loomis; his four daughters and foster daughter; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours were held May 12 at Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport. A service took place May 13 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, followed by interment with military honors at Sterling Cemetery, both in Greenport.

Memorial donations may be made to Eastern Long Island Hospital, 201 Manor Place, Greenport, NY 11944.