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Matthew David Haar, PhD

Matthew David Haar, PhD, died December 9th, 2021 in his son’s home in Berkeley, California. He was a clinical psychologist in private practice in Princeton, NJ from 1983 until October 2021 and a longtime resident of Pennington, NJ.

Matthew was born in New York City in 1945 to Murray and Shirley Haar. He was raised in Jersey City, NJ, in a large and close family where he attended Orthodox Jewish synagogue with his grandfather Jacob Haar, helped in the family wholesale grocery business, and was valedictorian at his high school, Stevens Academy in Hoboken, NJ.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) in 1967, Matthew joined the US Navy and was stationed as a Lieutenant with the nuclear submarine tender USS Simon Lake in Holy Loch, Scotland, where he learned to program computers. After his service, Matthew moved to Berkeley, CA and designed computer systems for Golden West Bank.

In the early 1970s, Matthew became interested in the human potential movement and psychology. He married Betsie Averett Holt in 1974 and began doctoral studies at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Palo Alto, CA. During this time he became a student of the Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher and Roshi, Hakuyū Taizan Maezumi.

In 1982 and with three little boys now in their family, he graduated with a PhD in clinical psychology. The family relocated to Pennington, NJ, where Matthew started his psychotherapy practice in Princeton, NJ, and their fourth son was born.

Over his four decades of practice, Matthew guided hundreds of children, adolescents, and adults toward a better understanding of their emotions and behavior. He closed his clinical practice in October 2021. While a sudden diagnosis of cancer cut short his post-clinical plans to continue training a new generation of therapists, in his final days he drafted a primer on emotions for the lay reader, which will be published posthumously. Matthew also remained a dedicated practitioner of Zen Buddhism to the end of his life.

Matthew is remembered by his family and friends for his big heart, insightful presence, generosity of spirit, and love of life. Among many things, he enjoyed sitting in the sun, dancing to live music, sharing a glass of fine wine, and most of all, spending quality time with loved ones.

Matthew is survived by Betsie, beloved wife of 47 years; sons Jordan, Jacob, William and Samuel; daughters-in-law Rohini and Maya; grandchildren Beata, Lalita, Gemma, Lakshmi, Zofja, Arya, Rahm, Aalia, and Emma; sisters Lynn Reichgott and Diane Haar-Lyons and their husbands Michael Reichgott and Jack Lyons; many adored nephews, nieces, cousins, friends, and patients. He was preceded in death by his parents Murray and Shirley Haar, of blessed memory. Funeral services for Matthew’s immediate family were held in California in December 2021 and the family is planning a New Jersey memorial service in June 2022.

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