Obituary: Dr. John Ryland Hinrichs, 82, former Darien resident, psychologist

obt-darien-HinrichsJohn Ryland Hinrichs, Ph.D., a former long-time Darien psychologist who was president of the United Way and served on the Representative Town Meeting here, along with serving two combat tours in the Korean War, died Wednesday, March 7, surrounded by his family at the VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, Fla. Dr. Hinrichs, 82, was the husband of Peggy McConnell Hinrichs.

A recent resident of Vero Beach and New Canaan, Dr. Hinrichs was born in Baltimore, Md., the son of Dr. Ernest Henry Hinrichs and Elizabeth Sadler Hinrichs of Riderwood, Maryland.

Dr. Hinrichs, an industrial and organizational psychologist, was the founder and CEO of Management Decision Systems, Inc., a human resources consulting firm, and Spectrum Learning and Development Inc., a publisher of management training materials and software.

Before founding MDS, Dr. Hinrichs was employed as an industrial psychologist at Exxon Research, Mobil Oil and IBM. He lived in the Netherlands for two years while working for IBM World Trade Division. He was a visiting professor at Cornell University from 1967-68.

Dr. Hinrichs was the author of three books in the human resources field: “High Talent Personnel,” “The Motivation Crisis” and “Practical Management for Productivity,” as well as more than 90 articles and book chapters that were translated into many different languages.

Dr. Hinrichs received numerous professional honors and awards during his career. In 1996, he received the Distinguished Professional Contribution Award from the 5,000-member Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He was an elected fellow of SIOP, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Society. He was on the Board of Governors of the Center for Creative Leadership of Greensboro, N.C., and was the president of the Metropolitan New York Association of Applied Psychology.

He was a graduate of McDonogh School in Baltimore, Dr. Hinrichs received a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of Delta Phi fraternity. He received an master’s degree from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in industrial psychology from Cornell University.

Dr. Hinrichs was a member of the Boys Scouts of America, where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and served two combat tours of duty during the Korean War as the Operations Officer on the USS Cushing, DD 797.

A long-time Darien resident, he was a director of numerous business, community and civic organizations including the Corporate Media Center of Stamford, the Wee Burn Country Club, Family & Children’s Agency of Norwalk, Harbor Inn at the Moorings Condominium Association, and the Moorings of Vero Property Owners Association. He served as chairman of the United Way of Darien (now the Community Fund of Darien) and served on the Representative Town Meeting here.

As a retired naval officer, Dr. Hinrichs owned various boats over the years and enjoyed boating on Long Island Sound and in the Indian River. He was an active and enthusiastic participant in sunfish races at Wee Burn Beach Club in Rowayton.

Besides his wife of 57 years, Dr. Hinrichs is survived by his daughter, Virginia Hinrichs McMichael of Malvern, Pa.; his son, Dr. Thomas Ryland Hinrichs; four grandchildren, John Lawrence McMichael and Mary Christine McMichael of Malvern, and Katherine Renee Hinrichs and Michael Christopher Hinrichs of Glenview, Ill.; his brother, Dr. Ernest Henry Hinrichs Jr.

He was predeceased by his sister, Mary Hinrichs Coe.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 17, at 11, at St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, 475 43rd Ave., Vero Beach. The Rev. Michael Goldberg will officiate.

Memorial donations may be made to support brain tumor research at Jackson Laboratory, 600 Main St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609 or online at jax.org.

Condolences may be made at lowtherfuneralhome.com.