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A Memorial Gathering for Dr. Vera Gatch will be held in the Scholars Room of the Oklahoma Memorial Union on Sunday, November 15 at 1:30-3:00. The Scholars Room is on the third floor north of the Union building, 900 Asp, Norman 73069. There is an adjacent parking garage on the north side of the building.
Donations can be made to the Nature Conservancy in her memory.
Vera “Vee” Mildred Gatch, Ph.D., was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, May 18, 1924 and died September 27, 2015 on her farm near Noble, Oklahoma. Her parents were Mildred Dorothy Webb Gatch and F. Tolbott Gatch from Baltimore where the family lived. She has one surviving second cousin, Diane Heim of Maryland, and many clients, colleagues and friends.
As a child on the Eastern Shore, Vee’s love of Chesapeake Retrievers and American Saddlebred Horses began and continued throughout her life. Vee bred, rode and exhibited many winning Saddlebreds, including her beloved black mare, Hawthorn’s Drucilla “Drew,” one of her many champions. She loved watching young colts she’d bred grow into beautiful horses. A highlight of her interest in the Wild was a trip to see the Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda and a ride in a hot air balloon to witness the wildebeest migration. Her botanic interests included growing orchids, peonies, iris and exotic primroses.
From an early age Vee believed in conservation, understanding that we belong to nature. She was an avid reader with extensive, integrated knowledge not only of clinical psychology but also classical and current literature, philosophy and biology. She volunteered in the Peace Corps in Mexico where her appreciation of other cultures and enjoyment of travel began.
Vee attended the University of Maryland and the University of Oklahoma, receiving a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1963. She was issued the eighth license to practice psychology in the state of Oklahoma on June 12, 1963. As a long-time Professor of Human Relations and an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Vee supervised the training of many students as psychologists and psychotherapists. She also served as an organizational and staff consultant to numerous mental health facilities and was a board member for a variety of agencies. She maintained a private practice in psychology from 1963 to the present. Vee was a member or officer of several professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, Oklahoma Psychological Association and the Oklahoma Society for Psychoanalytical Studies.
Vee’s finely honed skills in guiding both fledgling and experienced therapists to make the best use of themselves in their work is a legacy appreciated by many. She had the ability to read one’s character with considerable accuracy while offering support and compassion. Vee was an early and strong supporter of human rights and diversity, which she demonstrated in her clinical practice.
Vee was honest, direct, opinionated, intelligent and intensely involved in living. Her wit and playfulness will be missed. She has been described as “larger than life” and “a force to be reckoned with.” She made a profound difference in many lives she touched and will be remembered with gratitude.