Dalali, Isobel Day
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September 30, 1930 - December 4, 2012
Isobel Day Dalali Beloved Legend in the Veteran Community Isobel Day Dalali was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 30, 1930 to Buena Kropp and Art Day. The circumstances of her childhood were difficult. Her father left the family and the responsibility of wage earning fell onto her mother Buena. The family struggled in poverty for many years. Buena went on to remarry to John Reiner a molecular biologist at Colombia University in New York. Buena herself went on to earn a degree in biochemistry. Isobel went to Colombia University for her undergraduate studies. Like many academicians her parents moved from one university to another as opportunities presented themselves. While at the University of Minnesota Isobel met B.F. Skinner who was a frequent guest in the Reiners house. She was positively influenced by him and became passionate about pursuing a career in psychology. After marrying Salim Dalali MD she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she completed her PhD in Psychology. In 1971 she began working at the Brentwood Veterans Administration Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Los Angeles where she was centrally involved in the creation of one of the first opiate treatment programs in the US. She went on to become Head of the Substance Abuse Recovery Treatment Center. She was known for her no-nonsense approach, combining confrontation, education, expectation, and copious amounts of genuine caring and affection. She achieved a 53% success rate with her patients, which is almost unheard of. She is responsible for saving hundreds and hundreds of previously hardened and lost Veterans, and their families, by helping them end their destructive behaviors and lead productive lives. Isobel was President of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association and Editor of their newsletter. She was President of the Psychology Center of Los Angeles, Consultant for the Suicide Hotline, and Consultant for the California School of Professional Psychology. She also gave presentations, taught classes and workshops, was a frequent television interview guest, and had her own radio program. In 2005 Isobel received a Congressional Award for her years of service at the VA. She retired in 2006 and was granted the distinction of Emeritus status. After retirement she continued volunteering and helping Veterans. Isobel was a woman of intellect. She enjoyed keeping abreast of cultural and political events. She regularly went to the theater, she read voraciously, and was fond of jazz, and blues music. She took pride in being able to converse on a high level on any topic. Recently she joined a writers group where she made new friends and developed a passion for writing. She was working on her memoir when she passed away. She is survived by her son Michael Jamil Dalali, daughter in law Suzanne Crowe, granddaughter Fiona Day Dalali Crowe, and companion Sheldon Schoenberg.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 9, 2012