In Memory of Founding Member: Dr. Maria D. Lifrak
On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, Dr. Maria Deinzer Lifrak peacefully passed away. She is survived by her two sons, Lars and Joshua Lifrak, and six grandchildren, whom she adored. Maria was born in Clinton, N.J., of German immigrants. She attended Rutgers University, and obtained her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Rhode Island. She began her career as a school psychologist. Aware of the effects of trauma on young children, she returned for postdoctoral training in neuropsychology and obtained board certification.
After moving to Albany, Maria established Comprehensive Neuropsychological Services (CNS) in 1985, a specialized practice devoted to the evaluation and treatment of those who suffer from brain injury. During the following 30 years, the practice has become unique in the community for its quality of care and dedication to its clients.
Dr. Lifrak developed a postdoctoral fellowship program to promote the education of new neuropsychologists entering the discipline. She was a frequent presenter at the Brain Injury Association of New York State annual conferences, and she participated in various other professional forums. Throughout the years, Dr. Lifrak remained active in the psychological community, and held numerous professional memberships. She served as past president of both the New York State Association of Neuropsychology, and the Psychological Association of Northeastern New York. She was a former member of the board of directors of the New York State Head Injury Association, and former legislative committee chair and legislative liaison for the Neuropsychological Division of the New York State Psychological Association. She received a number of service awards including recognition as a Distinguished Psychologist and the 2005 American Psychological Association Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award.
Her commitment to the field of neuropsychology was unsurpassed. The practice at 490 Western Ave. remains a monument to her years of dedication and accomplishment. She will be sorely missed. More than anything, though, Maria leaves a legacy of being adventurous, courageous and caring. She was a woman who lived a full and incredible life. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake." Maria Lifrak was a testament to this quote and her presence and energy will be missed.