November 13, 2011

Just published obituary of Kathy Rees, class of 1961

The Hartford Courant on November 13, 2011

Dr. Kathy Rees, a psychotherapist, supervisor and, teacher died at home of complications after pneumonia on October 21, 2011. She was 68 years old.

Kathy said of her work, "I consider psychotherapy my calling rather than my job. My belief in the healing power of presence and relationship is the foundation of my work." A graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 1975, she received her Doctorate from the Smith College School for Social Work in 1982. Her dissertation, "Object Relations and Mourning in the Elderly," continued her interest in the impact of early childhood trauma. She studied and worked clinically with the complex post-traumatic stress reactions that stem from a childhood of chronic but subtle abuse and neglect.

As an adjunct faculty member of the University of Connecticut, she taught courses and led seminars on clinical social work, group work, women's issues, clinical supervision and the use of mindfulness-based techniques. Her foundation training in traditional psychoanalytic theory expanded to include feminist theory, body/mind approaches and, Eastern spirituality. Her workshops for the STEP Continuing Education Program of the University of Connecticut in West Hartford included "The Narcissistic Family: Fantasy Bonds," "Relationship is the Key: An Examination of Relational Theory From Object Relations to Intersubjectivity" and, "Integrating the Spiritual Dimension into Social Work Practice."

In her professional community, she was President of the Connecticut Society for Clinical Social Workers from 1988 to 1989. In 1990, as Co-Chair of the Social Work Vendorship Committee, she helped gain certification for social workers in Connecticut. She created beautiful gardens and was devoted to fostering growth in all around her.

Kathy was a deeply loved daughter, wife, sister, aunt, stepmother, step grandmother and friend. She was valiant in all her efforts. She will be in the hearts of all who loved her and who learned from her.

She is survived by her stepmother, Helen Rees, her husband, Frank Blackford, her sisters, Ellen Rees and Patricia Steier, her brother, Fred Rees, her stepchildren Loren and Evan Blackford, her step grandchildren, Zachary and Maya Dubno, her nieces, Beverly Bergund, Rachel White, Rebecca Croyle and Emily Petronis and her nephews, Benjamin and Ethan Rees. We will do as she urged us, "Live and let good come from it."

There will be a Memorial Service in the late spring. The date and time will be posted on the funeral home website in April of 2012. To send an online condolence to the family, please visit


Anonymous said...

As a clinical social worker myself, I am very moved by her career and dedication. Although I only knew her peripherally at DAHS, I always thought she was a lovely and gracious person. Kathy Stahlman Zinn, class of 1963

Anonymous said...

Levittown was a great place to grow up with wonderful friends and classmates. Kathy was a perfect example. I am sure she will be missed by everyone....Patricia Henry Gehrmann, class of 1963

Anonymous said...

All I can say is what a fantastic human being. How accomplished and vital was Kathy Reese. What a terrible loss. My condolences to her family, her friends, her students and her patients. A truly fitting obituary for a very special person. ...Arnie Galeota, class of 1961