William “Don” Faust

Psychology professor, veteran, fisherman

 Claremont resident William “Don” Langdon Faust, a longtime Claremont resident and Pomona College professor, died on July 7, 2014 at the age of 88 after a long life well-lived. His final hours were spent at his home in Mt. San Antonio Gardens with his family at his bedside. He was lucid, loving and peaceful—comfortable to the end.

Born in Dubuque, Iowa to Gladys and Clarence Faust (former Claremont residents), he grew up in the Chicago area. He enrolled at the University of Chicago after completing his second year of high school at Hyde Park High. In 1943, he enlisted in the US Navy and served until 1946. Then he returned to his college career at the University of Chicago, where he earned an applied baccalaureate degree. He next attended Stanford University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as a doctorate, all in psychology.

Mr. Faust came to Claremont in January 1953 as an instructor in psychology at Pomona College. He continued as professor of psychology there until he retired as emeritus professor in 1991. At Pomona, Mr. Faust taught courses on child psychology, learning and perception, research design and statistics. His former students especially appreciate his thoughtful mentoring and insight into creative ways to observe children and their abilities at different ages. He loved to teach and maintained strong ties with his students over his 38 years at Pomona.

Mr. Faust contributed chapters to several books, including Father Relations of War-Born Children, Advances in Special Education and Claremont Reading Conference Yearbooks. In 1971, he was awarded the Wig Distinguished Professor award for excellence in teaching, the highest honor bestowed on Pomona faculty. Mr. Faust’s wife Margaret was a psychology professor at Scripps College and, together, the pair was a vital part of the Claremont Colleges community. 

The Fausts spent summers teaching at University of Wisconsin (1960) and University of Minnesota (1969), and spent sabbaticals teaching and doing research at Vassar College (1959-1960) as well as at Suzhou Railway Teachers College in China (1988-1989). 

The Fausts took a trip to Tientsin, China and were able to find the house in which Margaret was born. They also traveled in Europe, enjoyed a fishing trip in New Zealand and made many cross-country road trips to visit family and friends. Mr. Faust’s favorite place to visit was their extended family cabin at Shaver Lake, California, where they spent countless, delightful summers.

Mr. Faust was dedicated to his family and students. He enjoyed photography, UCLA basketball, documenting extended family genealogy, horseback riding, water and snow skiing, and especially fishing. He was a passionate “catch-and-release” fisherman, whether fly fishing for trout in the Sierras, stripers in South Carolina or muskie in northern Wisconsin. He is lovingly remembered for his quick wit, his passion for understanding others, particularly those with different backgrounds from his own, and his impassioned debates.

A former student, Sue Siebel, noted that those who knew him “were lucky to have had him as a teacher, mentor, advisor, and friend.” 

Martha Saudek, a longtime friend, concurred that Mr. Faust was unforgettable.

“What a lovely gentle man,” she remembered, adding that she admired “his wit and ability to cut the chaff away and get to the key issues of a subject —with a sparkle in his eye.”

Mr. Faust is survived by his wife of 64 years, Margaret; by his three daughters, Katherine Faust, Ann Faust Bailey and Marion Faust Brockers; by his sons-in-law, Steve Bailey and Conrad Brockers, and by his three grandchildren, Allison, Keith and Ross Bailey. All are grateful for the years he was in their lives.


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