More Obituaries for Patricia Van Horn
Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name?

Patricia Van Horn

Obituary Condolences

Patricia Van Horn,

Dr. Patricia Jean Van Horn of Palo Alto, California, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2014 following a stroke she suffered earlier in the month while teaching in Tel Aviv, Israel. She was predeceased by Verlene Joyce Perry, her beloved partner of 35 years. They were married in 2008 in Palo Alto, California. Patricia was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1945. She graduated from Littleton High School, Littleton, Colorado in 1963, and earned her BA (1967) and JD (1970) degrees at the University of Colorado and was the first woman to be awarded a full tuition scholarship to the University of Colorado School of Law. During her successful career as an attorney culminating in a partnership at Crist, Crist, Griffiths, Bryant, Schulz & Biorn, she specialized in civil and appellate law and argued before the California Supreme Court multiple times. Patricia returned to graduate study and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (1996). 

Patricia was a professor of clinical psychology at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. She was also director of the San Francisco General Hospital Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry since 2010, and associate director of the Child Trauma Research Program at the medical school since its inception in 1996.  At the national level, she was associate director of the Early Trauma Treatment Network, a center of the federally funded National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She was an internationally renowned expert in the assessment and treatment of traumatic stress in infancy and early childhood. She was the co-developer of child-parent psychotherapy, an extensively used evidence-based treatment for traumatized young children. She created and conducted long-distance training and dissemination models for clinicians nationally and abroad.  She authored several books, dozens of articles and chapters, and created training manuals and models of system collaboration linking mental health, pediatrics, domestic violence advocacy, and the child welfare system. She collaborated with the Presiding Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court in establishing the Zero to Three Court Team and other innovative judicial initiatives, provided training to judges and attorneys in family court and dependency court, and was a much-sought consultant and speaker on the needs of children in the child welfare system. She was passionately devoted to promoting the advancement of women and ethnic minorities in academia. She received the 2009 Champion for Children Award of the San Francisco Bar Association in recognition of her tireless public service on behalf of underserved children and their families. 

Patricia was a faithful member of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California, and especially appreciated the experience of singing in the High Holy Days choir last year.  She is survived by her beloved son, Alexander Gebala (wife, Nicole Petro); her sisters, Barbara Van Horn (husband, Bob Hutcheson) and Linda Apperson; her brother, Larry Van Horn, and nieces Carrie Straub, Jessica Apperson, Bridgett Van Horn, and Monica Van Horn.  She was an inspiring and much-loved mother, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, and colleague and will be profoundly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to The Child Trauma Center to further Patricia's work.   Checks should be sent to

UCSF Foundation

c/o Amanto Marcotulli

220 Montgomery St., 5th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

with Child Trauma Center in the memo line. 


There will be a memorial for Patricia at UCSF on Friday, May 30.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23, 2014
Read More