By REBECCA WALSH
Chair of Education at Auckland University from 1945 to
1975. Died in Auckland, aged 92.
More than 50 years ago, Ralph Winterbourn recognised the value of one-on-one teaching for children struggling to read. Today, children around New Zealand benefit from the development of that idea by his former student Dame Marie Clay, who founded the internationally acclaimed Reading Recovery programme.
Professor Winterbourn had an avid interest in children's learning problems and was the driving force behind the country's first official educational psychology service.
He was the author of several textbooks on guidance and special education, including the needs of gifted children. For many years he was a member of the New Zealand Council of Educational Research.
After completing a doctorate at London University, he carried out research in Britain, the United States and France before returning to lecture at Canterbury University for more than 25 years.
Students and staff who worked with him remember a patient, tolerant man who was interested in others' points of view. Dr David Barney, a former student and later colleague, described him as a " retiring person who was comfortable in his own company."
"He was a good lecturer, very down to earth. He was generous with his time. You could knock on his door and he would call you in and listen to your woes."
A long-time member of the Railway Enthusiasts' Society, Professor Winterbourn was a staunch supporter of train travel.
"He loved riding trains. He would go for a ride just for the sake of it, but he hated flying and had to fly to England for conferences. He would rather have gone to England on a train, and the older the better," Dr Barney said.
Known to his family as "Winty," Professor Winterbourn was a keen gardener and a member of the Forest and Bird Society.
Professor Winterbourn is survived by his wife, Nan, sons Michael and Graham and two grandchildren.