Dr. David Hartl


Dr. David E. Hartl passed away peacefully and painlessly on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, surrounded by people he loved. He was 80 years old. The cause of death was multi-organ failure due to pneumonia, itself the result of complications from a fall on November 26.

David Hartl was born on April 3, 1939, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Emil M. Hartl and Elizabeth “Betty” (Parker) Hartl. He served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1959. He graduated on the Dean’s List from Boston University with a B.S. in communications in 1962, an M.S. in adult education in 1965, and a doctorate in adult education and social psychology in 1974. At BU, he served as President of the Student Government and was selected by the BU News as the 1962 Boston University Man of the Year.

Dr. Hartl’s professional career can best be characterized as one of service and teaching. He had a prolific consulting and teaching career through his company, General Learning Climates, Inc., as well as through universities such as USC, Chapman University, Cal State Long Beach, and UCI. Dr. Hartl’s work took him to countries like China, Bahrain, and Singapore, and over the years he served over 100 corporate, government, and nonprofit clients. He authored more than 250 articles, book chapters, monographs, research reports, and papers in the fields of adult education and organizational change. His consulting and research work is preserved online at www.davidhartl.com/papers.

In addition to his many professional activities, David was a great lover of music, particularly classical and jazz, as well as theater and travel. He sang his way through the U.S. Army (where his quartet won an All-Army competition), formed a tight-harmony jazz group called The Abstract Four with friends and family, worked his way through college playing jazz drums, and continued singing and drumming in various contexts for the rest of his life. Professionally, he supported numerous performing ensembles, especially the Pacific Symphony Orchestra in Orange County, CA, a group he consulted with (and whose performances he enthusiastically attended) for many years.

Those who knew David will never forget his warmth of presence, his wry and groan-worthy sense of humor, and his enduring love for his family and friends. He is survived by his children Lynn Noel (Phillip) of Waltham, MA; Scott Hartl (Hannah) of Leverett, MA; Michael Hartl of Los Angeles, CA; and Katherine “Kara” Johnson of Fairbanks, AK. He also leaves five grandchildren: Mia Hartl, Willa Hartl, Geir Hartl, Luc Johnson, and Sophia Johnson. Additionally, he is survived by his best friend and companion Judy Hauptman, with whom he shared more than 30 years, both during and after the life of his wife Jerene, as well as by his former wives Barbara (Knowles) Hartl and Margery (McCullough Hartl) Noel. David was predeceased by his wife Jerene Johnson and his brothers William P. Hartl and Robert F. P. Hartl.

Family and friends are invited to visit the Hartl–Johnson niche at Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary in Santa Ana, CA, where David’s ashes have been interred with those of his beloved wife Jerene.