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Robert A. Prosser Ph.D.

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Robert A. Prosser Ph.D. Obituary
Robert A. Prosser, PhD

Bob Prosser- beloved husband, friend, brother, teacher, climbing partner, colleague, and psychoanalyst-died January 13, 2013, while rock and ice climbing at milepost 8 of State Route 155, near Coulee City, Washington. He slipped while standing on a narrow ledge and fell two hundred feet. He was killed instantly. There was no equipment failure-it was a simple tragic accident.

Robert Andrew Prosser was born June 1, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois, the second child of Andrew Caspar Prosser and Antoinette Irene Czlapinski Prosser. Bob was a curious and energetic child; he loved play-fighting, pole-vaulting, and playing electric guitar. His father was a book collector and dealer; and Bob's Saturdays typically involved a trip to the local public library to bring home a paper sack full of books. Bob loved Scouting; summer Boy Scout Camp was a Shangri-La for this Chicago boy. Scouting seeded Bob's lifelong love of the wilderness, of mountaineering, of rock and ice climbing, and of skiing, backpacking, and hiking.

After graduating from St. Patrick's High School in 1970, Bob attended Marquette University for two years, intending to major in engineering. But engineering didn't feel right. Bob was concerned about social justice, poverty, homelessness. He dropped out of college and lived for a year in the Casa Maria Catholic Worker House, a community based on Dorothy Day's philosophy of prayer, hospitality, and resistance to social injustice. Living with and serving the needs of homeless women and families crystallized Bob's heart's vocation, to contribute to humankind by becoming a clinical psychologist; and to nourish others' wounded hearts and minds. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in psychology and earned his doctorate in psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1980.

Bob came to Seattle to complete his psychology internship year at the University of Washington. He joined the Mountaineers Club climbing classes and by the end of his internship year he had climbed all the Cascade volcanoes in Washington State. It was during this year he met and fell in love with the woman who would become his life partner, Nina Ramsey. He returned to Minnesota to complete his dissertation, but found his way back to the Pacific Northwest and to his sweetheart by completing two-years of post-doctoral training in Neuropsychology at the University of Washington.

Bob and Nina lived a life rich with shared ideals, values, and intellectual interests, a life of laughter and love, a life of hard work and equally hard play. Every summer vacation and most summer weekends, they hiked and backpacked the backcountry of the Cascades, the Canadian Rockies, and the Tetons. Their favorite places included the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the Northern North Cascades, Mount Robson, Mount Rainier, and the Napeequa Valley.

When Bob and Nina weren't together in the backcountry, Bob would be climbing. His most enjoyable, and difficult, rock climbs include the East Buttress of South Early Winters Spire (North Cascades), Iconoclast on Snow Creek Wall (The Enchantments), Davis Holland/Loving Arms (Index) and The Snaz (a Teton classic). Bob's most memorable ascents were the Kain Face route of Mount Robson (the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies), the Liberty Ridge Route of Mount Rainier, and the Kautz Glacier Route of Mount Rainier. Bob's bold sense of backcountry fun included skiing down Mount Saint Helens one Mother's Day, wearing a pink tutu.

Bob was a gifted clinician. Kind, deeply empathic, a wonderful listener. He practiced neuropsychology for several years; and then, because of his desire to deepen his work, he began psychoanalytic training at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. He completed the Adult training, and was close to completing the Child training when he passed. Bob contributed much to the Institute, through teaching courses (his favorite was teaching Neuro-psychoanalysis), serving as Faculty Chair, and serving on the Curriculum Committee. He was loved and respected by his colleagues; and he loved and respected his patients.

Bob is preceded in death by his father, Andrew Prosser and his father-in-law, James Ramsey. He is survived by his wife of twenty-eight years, Nina Ramsey, his mother, Antoinette Prosser, his sisters Mary Prosser and Theresa Prosser, his brother Mark Prosser (Mary Ellen), his mother-in-law Suzanne Ramsey, his sisters-in-law Claire Ramsey (Sachi T. Wilson) and Carol Docksteader (Dan), and numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Bob's life will be held Saturday, January 26, 2013, 1:30 to 4:30 pm, at the Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way Northeast, Seattle, Washington 98115. All family, friends, colleagues, and patients are invited to attend and share their thoughts, feelings, and memories of this wonderful man.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Alps Alpine Legacy Project (americanalps.org), the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (gyc.org), Seattle Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (spsi.org), and Catholic Community Services, Grays Harbor Family Center, P.O. Box 1734, Aberdeen, Washington, 98520. On line remembrances may be left at www.becksfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20, 2013
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