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Rae Dezettel Perls

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Rae Dezettel Perls Obituary
Perls, Dr. Rae Dezettel

Dr. Rae Dezettel Perls, 79, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, passed away on July 30, 2016, following 6 years of living with breast cancer.

She is survived by her bashert, her husband of 60 years, Stephen, her children Robert and Nancy Lynn, daughters-in-law Joan Findley-Perls and Brenda Broussard, and her beloved grandchildren Aaron and Zachary Perls, Zoe Broussard Perls and step-grandchildren Tasha Gibson and Alex Wolf.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Rae briefly attended Bowen High School, and then entered University of Chicago (UC) when she was fifteen with a goal of becoming a social worker. After two years at UC, she transferred to Antioch College where she met Stephen; married, returned to UC to compete her BA, and both children were born in Chicago. Rae and Steve moved to Eugene, Oregon for Steve to complete his doctorate, and then moved to New Mexico in 1963. Rae returned to school at UNM in 1969, when it was still rare for women who were also mothers and wives to pursue higher education, and she completed an MA and PhD in Counseling Psychology. Rae was one of the early women to obtain licensure as a clinical psychologist in New Mexico.

Rae became a group therapist and expert in women's issues and family dynamics, working as a private practice psychotherapist for over 35 years. She was a teacher and mentor of therapists, leading workshops and filling various leadership roles with both national and regional organizations, and was a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. Rae loved to travel and with Steve visited over 35 countries, often teaching and learning about cross cultural approaches to understanding health and mental health issues.

Rae was an early board member of the Albuquerque Rape Crisis Center and later served on the board of Jewish Family Services. She served for almost 25 years on the board of the Prospector Condominiums in Aspen, Colorado; because she loved Aspen Mountain in the summer, live music, dance, and the Rio Grande Trail. Rae served as Board President and later Chair of the External Affairs Committee of the La Luz Landowner's Association for many years, participating with the Westside Coalition of Neighborhood Associations protecting and preserving life along the Rio Grande Bosque. She will be remembered as a key member of the successful opposition team defeating Wal-Mart's application to develop a big box at Coors and Montano, and the speaker who described Wal-Mart's plans as an effort to "put lipstick on a pig".

Rae has been admired and loved for her contributions to her communities: her clients, her profession, her neighborhood and her family. She was bright, considerate, organized, caring, hard working, a superb listener, group facilitator and solver of problems. She was a feminist, an activist, mentor and role model. She loved her family and her friends; and we all knew we were loved.

There will be a gathering in her memory on Sunday, August 14, 2016 at 4:00 p.m., at Budagher Hall on the campus of Bosque School, 4000 Learning Road NW, Albuquerque. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Rae's memory to the Rape Crisis Center of Central NM, or ACLU of NM.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 7, 2016
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