Thomas Reif 1945 – 2020 It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Tom Reif, who died unexpectedly from a fatal encounter with his beloved backhoe as he was preparing his garden for Spring planting. It could be said that Tom died with his boots on because sitting atop the roaring tractor moving big rocks and pushing around big piles of dirt always put a big smile on his face. Tom was born in Queens, New York on January 17, 1945 and was raised as a city boy. His passion for the land caught fire when, at age 18, he moved to Maine to attend Colby College. He loved Maine and made some close friends who had a homesteading community there. So after completing his undergraduate degree at Colby and earning Master and Ph.D. degrees in psychology at Michigan State University, he promptly returned to Maine to rejoin his community of friends. He enjoyed the physical demands of the land: They built cabins and barns, grew food and practiced Kendo sometimes barefoot in the snow. Eventually, he also began to practice psychology and opened the first counseling center in Ellsworth, Maine. In 1977, Tom moved to Richmond, Virginia to accept a job at a psychiatric hospital. He became interested in Gestalt therapy and did extensive training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Eventually, he opened a private practice and became a clinical faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Virginia and an affiliate adjunct faculty member at VCU, teaching Gestalt and becoming a mentor as well as a therapist for many of the therapists in the area. For many years, he was considered to be a central figure in Richmond's therapeutic community. Tom was a man of heart. One of his friends captured his essence in a recent note to me: "Tom was a kind, gentle, funny, deeply human person, whose voice and energy are always with me…still encouraging and guiding me." To quote another, "he was one of a kind!" He will be missed by many. He is survived by his beloved partner of 30 years, Joan Miller, his son, Benjamin and his wife Tamara, two grandchildren, Ella and Nolan, his son, Nicholas and the children's mother, Lucie Reif, all of whom reside in Louisville, Kentucky; his brother, John, from Colorado; half-sister, Kiki Reif and half-brother, Peter Reif. Also, his Connecticut stepfamily, Dawn and Bill Moran, Nicole, Lincoln and Sydney Champagne, Aaron, Jen, Sam, Nathan and Sean Benham and Swansea, Kyra and Robyn Bleicher. There will be no service at this time because of the pandemic. A memorial service in celebration of his life will take place at a later date when it becomes safe to do so. You may visit an online guestbook at montano-shea.com.
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Published in Hartford Courant on Apr. 16, 2020.