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In memoriam: Jack Share, Korean War veteran and psychologist who aided fellow soldiers

Jack Share

Jack Share, who in the 1970s served as an assistant professor in UCLA’s Special Education Division and the Graduate School of Education, died on Nov. 4 at Kaiser Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 87 years old.

Share’s multifaceted history included serving as a U.S. Army psychologist during the Korean War; conducting groundbreaking research on Down Syndrome in New Zealand; mentoring the next  generation of education experts; and donating his psychotherapeutic expertise to help active military service members and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Born in 1927 in Chicago, Share often said, “I was born at a very young age and never got over it.” His parents, Lena and David Share, were Lithuanian and Polish Jewish immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island in the early 1900s and met and married in Chicago. The oldest of four children, Share spent most of his childhood in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

While attending Roosevelt High School, Share worked the night shift at the U.S. Tire and Rubber Company, where he became the union steward for his crew. After his graduation, he took night classes at East Los Angeles Community College, where he met and married Armony Pupkowiez in 1952. Two years later, during the Korean War, Share was drafted into the army and the young couple relocated to La Rochelle, France, where Share was assigned to the 28th General Hospital as a psychologist treating combat and support troops from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In 1956, the family returned to the United States and Share, with the help of the GI Bill, completed his master’s degree in counseling and guidance at California State University, Los Angeles. During this time, he met Dr. Richard Koch, who became life-long mentor and friend who encouraged Share to join him in his research on Down Syndrome and obtain a Ph.D. While working with the Pasadena School District as a school psychologist, Share continued his education at USC with the goal of earning his doctorate in psychology.

In 1965, Share moved his family to New Zealand, where he joined Victoria University in Wellington as a senior lecturer in education and psychology. He also pursued doctoral research, traveling the country with his family to investigate — and ultimately to disprove — the prevailing belief that Down Syndrome was not found in Maori children. Share managed to assess approximately 85 percent of all children in New Zealand up to the age of five who had Down Syndrome. His findings established a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of intervention programs for children with Down Syndrome.

In 1971, Share joined the UCLA Graduate School of Education, where he taught for six years, focusing in special education and mentoring many students. Among them was Patricia Gándara — now a UCLA research professor and co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies — who earned her doctorate in educational psychology at UCLA.

“Jack was very instrumental in my education and thus, my life,” Gandara said. “When I applied to the Ph.D. program at UCLA, he saw the potential in me that perhaps some others did not, and he advocated for admitting me to the program. Jack was a constant source of encouragement.”

Share left UCLA in 1976 to establish a private practice as a clinical and educational psychologist. Starting in 2008 and up until the time of his death, he spent most of his time doing pro bono work with the non-profit Soldiers Project, which connects licensed therapists in private practice with active military service members and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the therapeutic services Share provided free of charge to veterans were diagnostic evaluations, psychotherapy, yoga and equine therapy. In addition, Share also served as vice chairman of VeteransConnect, a non-profit organization for veterans helping veterans.

Over the course of his professional career, Share was involved in numerous national organizations. He was president of the executive board of directors of Multicultural IMPACT Inc. and was a member of the board of directors of the National Down Syndrome Congress and the Western Law Center for the Handicapped. He also served as a member of the California State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1972-1985), and the community liaison on the Bioethics Committee at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Woodland Hills (1986-2015).

Share is survived by his wife, Armony; his children Debbie, Leslie and Jeff, who is a faculty adviser and lecturer in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program; and five grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations in Share’s honor be made to The Soldier’s Project or VeteransConnect.

This story is adapted from the original in Ampersand, the news magazine of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

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