Retired faculty member Diane Chatlosh, who taught psychology at Chico State for 19 years, passed away April 1. She was 63.

Born September 19, 1955 in Menominee, Michigan, she earned her bachelor of science from Northern Michigan University in 1977 and her master’s from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, in 1981. After earning her PhD in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1988, she taught at Ball State University in Indiana before she was hired at Chico State the following year.

Dean Eddie Vela and Chatlosh arrived at Chico State around the same time, both as assistant professors, and had offices near one another. They quickly became friends, sharing a similar sense of humor and commonalities in their doctoral training.

Chatlosh taught one of the hardest courses in the major’s curriculum, yet that never dampened students’ affinity for her, Vela said. As much as she insisted that students be provided a comprehensive and detailed study of behavioral principles, and that students demonstrate significant mastery of those principles, she treated students with compassion and respect.

“Her office hours were always busy with students who needed help and tutoring. I knew she was in her office and working with students because her infectious laugh could be heard resonating down the hall. She worked hard with and for students, and she laughed hard with them as well,” Vela said. “She is part of my University experience. I cherish her memory, and her distinctive laugh. Makes me chuckle just thinking about it.” 

Psychology department chair Linda Kline joined Chico State a year after Chatlosh, and they quickly bonded over their Midwest roots. She too recalls her longtime friend and colleague’s positive attitude and connection with students.

“Diane filled Modoc Hall with her infectious laughter and great sense of humor,” Kline said. “And her knowledge of our program was unparalleled.”

Before Chatlosh retired in 2008, she was a sought-after thesis chair and committee member because of her ability to help students achieve their best writing, and she was a longtime advisor and co-coordinator of the department’s undergraduate program.

Her former officemate Jane Rysberg laughed as she recalled anecdote after anecdote about Chatlosh. She said perhaps her fondest memories are those of their years together working as the “department elves” to secure funds for and shop for the Needy Children’s Program (now known as Joy of Giving).

“For me, Diane will always be the spirit of Christmas,” Rysberg said. “Diane was devoted to getting every child every item on his or her list. She was also devoted to getting perfect outfits for each child. Certainly, each boy and girl had a stellar (and complete) outfit for Christmas Day, but their underwear, play clothes, and PJs also had to be on target. I can remember her shrieking in the underwear aisle in Walmart as she found a T-shirt, underpants, and socks emblazoned with some cartoon hero who was a favorite of a little boy on our list.”

Chatlosh is survived by her brother Richard, sister Linda, sister Kathleen, brother Brian, and many nieces, nephews, and friends. A celebration of life was held April 7 with close family and friends. Contributions in her name may be made to the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center or the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin.