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Aretta RATHMELL M.D. Obituary

Aretta Jennings Rathmell, M.D.

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Aretta Jennings Rathmell, M.D., died at home on Thursday, December 26, 2013, in Springfield.

Dr. Rathmell was born March 28, 1938, in Plainview, Texas, daughter of Noyce and Ara Mae (Pierce) Jennings. She was preceded in death by her parents, as well as by her brother, Bobby Ted Jennings, and her sister, Noyce Mae Burleson.

Dr. Rathmell attended Lubbock High School and Texas Tech University and earned her medical degree from Tulane University in 1963. She was proud of being one of five women in her medical school class. She married James Jacob Rathmell in 1960 and was divorced in 1976.

Dr. Rathmell interned at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans and went on to do residencies in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. She was the first woman psychiatrist employed at Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital in Dallas, Texas, and developed a keen interest in working with Vietnam veterans. Later she went into private practice, first in Dallas, Texas, and then in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She also worked at the Veterans Hospital in Lubbock, Texas in 1987-88. She won a number of state and national awards and was named a Distinguished Fellow by the American Psychiatric Association. She was a President of the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association and was recognized for her work in forensic psychiatry by the Louisiana Bar Association. She also was a member of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry and enjoyed lobbying in Washington, D.C., regarding mental health issues. She retired in 2005 and moved to Springfield, Illinois.

She is survived by her three children and their spouses, Karen and John Moranski of Springfield, IL, Robert and Susan Rathmell of San Francisco, CA, and Gregory and Kerry Rathmell of Charlotte, NC. She also is survived by three grandchildren, Kate, Ian, and Pierce, and by her niece, Harriet Burleson Flache.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (https://www.fallenheroesfund.org/Donate.aspx) or the National Military Family Association (http://www.militaryfamily.org/get-involved/donate/). A memorial service will be held at a later date in Springfield, Illinois, and in accordance with her wishes, her ashes will be placed at Resthaven Cemetery in Lubbock, Texas with her family. Services are entrusted to Bisch Funeral Home West and please visit the online "Life Remembered Story" at www.bischfuneralhomewest.com.

Published in The State Journal-Register on Dec. 29, 2013
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