Norman Buktenica died June 10, 2022 at his winter home in Palm Desert, CA with Jonne’ at his side.

Norm was born in Chicago, IL on May 27, 1930 to August and Theresa Buktenica, both of whom immigrated from Croatia as children. He was the youngest of three boys, Ray
who died in 2018 and Jack.

He attended Chicago Vocational High School thinking he would become a tool and die designer/maker. A gifted athlete in both football and baseball, he was recruited by several Big 10 Universities. He decided the school for him was Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN. While at Wabash, his considerable talent was noticed by the Boston Red Soxs, however he decided that was not what he wanted to do. He was inducted into the Wabash College Hall of Fame for his outstanding football prowess. He applied to Roosevelt University in Chicago to get his masters in psychology. The Army drafted him in 1953. He was stationed on Okinawa Upon discharge, he returned to Chicago to Roosevelt University to obtain his Masters. He also was awarded a full scholarship to University of Chicago, where he earned his Doctorate in Psychology. He co-authored the Berry-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration which is used world wide. American Psychology Association, Fellow, American Board of Professional Psychology, Diplomate, American Academy of School Psychology, Fellow.

He married Dena Jaffe, teacher, who was to become his wife and mother of his two daughters, Julie and Laurie. His second wife, Marsha Kierscht, Psychologist, is the mother of two step children, Cynthia and Matt. His third wife Alea Norman, State Department, who preceded him in death, was the mother of five of his step children, Jack, Kelly, Dave, Julie and Patrick Norman. and finally Jonne’ Lerner, a Clinical Psychologist whom he met in California, mother of Cynthia. His nephews are, Gus and Mark and niece, Jody. Grandchildren are Ethan and Alex, Scott, Matthew, Joshua, Christian (deceased),and Jacob, Rodney, Tyler, Nick, Robert, Morgan, Zachery & Hannah, Melissa, Andrea & Colin, Kennedy, Emma and Sophie. He also has six great-grandchildren.

Chicago, IL
Staff psychologist Cook County Hospital, clinic for children
Director of Prototype project to establish multi-disciplinary teams fo Hawaii Department of Public Education
Staff Psychologist, Chicago Board of Health
Assistant Assessment Officer, Peace Corps Training Program
Co-Director of Consultation Services for development and staffing of comprehensive mental health services at a new State of Illinois Health Center

Director of Ph.D training for American Psychological Association program that combined clinical, counseling, community and school psychology
Professional Backup for crisis call suicide prevention programs

Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN
Professor, Education Department, Assistant Chairperson, Director of Special Education programs.

George Peabody College, Nashville, TN
Professor of Psychology and Special Education
Director, Transactional-Ecological Psychology Training Program
Director, Child Study Program

Volunteered at Hospice in Detroit Lakes, MN and Rancho Mirage, CA
Taught at Braille Institute in Rancho Mirage, CA

Norm was a very talented sculptor who has sculptures in Science Building at Moorhead State University and at the Embassy Of Mauritania, Africa and many other locations. Norm was also a skilled carpenter who built his home on Spirit Lake on weekends and during vacations .His skill at woodworking was remarkable, he created countless pieces. In addition he was a gifted metal worker and created many pieces of art on display and both of his homes and friends.

Norm was the kindest, nicest gentleman. Besides all his considerable talents and accomplishments he was self effacing. His sense of humor and his smile could light up a room. Everyone who knew him felt comfortable in his presence. He did not judge or criticize, he had the ability to understand others immediately.

In lieu of flowers, donations preferred to Wabash College Scholarships and Financial Aid.
Donations may also be sent by mail at 301 W Wabash Ave. Crawfordsville, IN 47933, or by calling 1 (877) 743-4545


Visitation - Saturday: August 20, 2022 @ 1:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103


Memorial: August 20, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103


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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Norman Buktenica 's name.

Wabash College Scholarships and Financial Aid

301 W. Wabash Avenue
Crawfordsville, IN

Memories Timeline

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  1. Norm was a friend and mentor. He gave me advice and support at a time in my life when I needed both. He had a way of communicating that was direct yet considerate. His nickname among we students was “the velvet hammer” Among the great people in my life, Norm is right at the top. I will always cherish our relationship. Rest in peace, Norm

  2. I had the privilege of knowing this kind and gentle man. We all need more Norm’s in our life. RIP kind servant.

  3. Norm will be missed by many. He was a mentor who excelled at listening first and modeling a quiet, understated but lasting influence on future psychologists and special education teachers. It was fun to see him pursue his artistic interests in later years. Sincerest condolences to his family.

  4. I loved Norm from the minute we met. My name is Norma. We called each other Norm (ya think!). I’ve been friends with Jonne for 40+ years. When she and Norm visited us in Daly City, CA, it was like visiting with an old friend; Jonne was, Norm was not, but I didn’t notice the difference at all. My husband, Dennis, and I enjoyed his wit, kindness, sincerity and interest when I explained my sister who is legally blind and developmentally challenged. He wanted to meet her and we did so where she lives at St. Anne’s Home San Francisco (run by the Little Sisters of the Poor). She showed us around, he asked questions, she answered as though they knew each other for years. This kind gentleman had such an effect on us. We are forever grateful for the privilege of knowing him. May he Rest In Peace.

  5. Ralph M. Hausman, Ph.D.
    I first met Norm when he was visiting the U of Hawaii the summer of 1967 when he taught a small group of us to administer/score the VMI. The last two months of my second masters degree grant I administered the test to local Hawaiian children for him. The following fall I was in his Peabody school psychology program working on my doctorate in special education. Of all professors I have experienced as a student, Norm was one of the two or three top, most supportive profs.
    His kind and gentle humor along with his constant encouragement made a the following years most enjoyable. Once, when a visiting prof from New Zeland arrived, he arranged for my wife, Barbara, and I to host them for supper and, I found out later, he was encourtaging them to hire me if their school psychology program application came to fruition. To my regret, it did not but I always appreciated his support. His gentle but firm humor also got me through my final dissertation defence with far less anxiety than anticipated. His style of teaching and relating with his students was one I adopted in later years with my own students, some of whom I still work with. He will truely be missed by Barbara and i. Vaya con Dios, Norm.

  6. I met Norman about 20 years ago and we became better friends about 10 years ago when he helped me through some stuff I was going through. He was a very gentle man and will be missed by plenty of people not just me, RIP Norm and I will see you again even if you may not think so.

  7. I was lucky enough to join Norm at Peabody the fall he became Director of the School Psychology doctoral program. I was young, a new father, and no doubt naive beyond description. I had also recently lost my father. In Norm I found my key professor, a trusted friend, and a supportive father figure. I worked hard to live up to the expectations I developed for myself in an effort to please Norm, although he was always supportive and encouraging to me. As others have mentioned, I became familiar with, and a proponent of the VMI, and I shaped my research interests around those Norm had developed. GPC provided me with a setting to learn, mature, and develop my skills for becoming a psychologist in the schools, but it was Norm, and others he placed in my path, who got me through it all. May God’s peace surround and protect you, old friend. Thanks for sharing so much of who you were with me, especially in my times of greatest need.

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