Cover photo for Dr. Paul H. Lysaker's Obituary
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1960 Dr. 2023

Dr. Paul H. Lysaker

February 15, 1960 — July 25, 2023

Indianapolis, Indiana

Paul Henry Lysaker, 63, of Indianapolis, Indiana, passed away on July 25, 2023 at his Indianapolis home. Paul was born on February 15, 1960 in Orange County, California to Yvonne B. Lysaker and the late Richard L. Lysaker. He was the beloved spouse of Judith T. Lysaker.

Paul grew up in Westchester County, New York and Princeton, New Jersey where he graduated from Princeton High School. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Kenyon College and his Master’s Degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Kent State University. Paul began his career as a clinical psychologist at the West Haven VA Medical Center in Connecticut, where he met his wife Judy. He continued his practice at the Hamilton Center in Green County, Indiana, before moving to the Roudebush VA Hospital in Indianapolis where he served for 25 years. Paul was also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine, President of the MERIT Institute, and member of the American Psychological Association and the Indiana Psychological Association.

A world-renowned clinician and scholar, Paul found great meaning in his work, which focused on providing psychotherapy to adults diagnosed with serious mental illness. He was a gifted, compassionate therapist who passionately believed in the full humanity of his patients. He did not see anyone as beyond the reach of human connection and worked tirelessly to help others find meaning in their lives. As a scholar, Paul was endlessly driven to study and write, leaving behind several books and hundreds of scholarly articles. He inspired clinicians and academics all over the world, and was always eager to learn from them. As a mentor, Paul was insightful, generous, and empathetic to the countless students and junior colleagues whose lives he impacted. Paul imbued all of these roles with his characteristic warmth, humor, and blend of wisdom and play.

On a personal level, Paul loved art in all its forms and tried several, from composing music, writing novels and painting. He became an accomplished abstract painter and a devoted student of the piano, which he spent hours playing late into the evening. He was known for his collections–of coins, books, CDs, film, wine, stories, friends, and kitschy office desk toys. These eclectic interests were an integral part of his life which continually expanded his appreciation and understanding of the human condition, connected him with others and gave him great joy.

Paul leaves behind a large family, who love and remember him for his pranks, magic tricks, jokes, and insistence that he really was a bear. He is survived by his wife, Judith T. Lysaker; his mother, Yvonne B. Lysaker; his children and stepchildren, Mercedes Lysaker and her husband Elliot Edwards; Joshua McAvay and his wife Erin; Benjamin McAvay; and Haley McAvay. He was predeceased by his stepson Eben McAvay. His grandchildren are Sophie, Lilly and Daniel McAvay. He is survived by his siblings, Eric and his wife Maria; John and his wife Hilary; and Jill Hersey and her husband Dave; as well as by his niece Madeline Cunnings and his nephew Richard Lysaker.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, August 5 at Flanner Buchanan Funeral Home, 2706 Kessler Blvd W. Dr., Indianapolis. There will be a viewing from 10am to noon followed by a service. In lieu of flowers, donations in Paul’s name may be made to Fountain House (www.fountainhouse.org) and to Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, Prevention and Recovery Center for Early Psychosis (https://www.eskenazihealth.edu).

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, August 5, 2023

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Flanner Buchanan- Washington Park North

2706 Kessler Boulevard West Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46228

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, August 5, 2023

12:00 - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Flanner Buchanan- Washington Park North

2706 Kessler Boulevard West Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46228

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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