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Friday, February 26, 2021

Professor Merle Prim passes away

Merle Prim. // Photo by  Rachel Bayne for Western, courtesy of John Thompson.
Merle Prim. // Photo by Rachel Bayne for Western, courtesy of John Thompson

Merle Prim, professor emeritus of psychology at Western, passed away Sunday, Oct. 2, at the age of 84.

Prim passed away from an illness at his home in Bellingham, according to his obituary.

Prim was born Aug. 30, 1932, in Seattle where he graduated from Garfield High School. He served as a Captain in the United States Air Force in the 1950s.

Prim graduated from the University of Washington where he earned his bachelor’s and received his master’s degree from San Diego State University. Prim went on to get his doctorate at Washington State University and spent time in Puerto Rico where he completed his post-doctoral fellowship.

Prim spent 42 years teaching in Western’s Psychology Department where he first joined in 1969. During his time at Western, he was involved in an active research lab focused on physiological psychology as well as neuroscience and animal learning. More than 15 students from his lab received graduate degrees.

Saturday mornings in downtown Bellingham were one of Prim’s personal interests, along with astronomy, racquetball and reading mysteries, according to his obituary.

Martin Wilson, Prim’s spouse of 30 years, survives him, along with Prim’s brother, niece and two nephews.

A memorial service for Prim will be held at a future date and memorials can be made to a charity of choice.

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