Harold R. Galef

Obituary
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1928 - 2012
Harold R. Galef, M.D., of Scarsdale, NY, died at age 83 on May 13, 2012. An associate professor emeritus in clinical psychology at Albert Einstein School of Medicine, as well as a former director of the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he was a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis. He also maintained a private psychiatric practice in New York City and Scarsdale.

Born in Manhattan the year before the stock market crash, Harold graduated from William Howard Taft High School at age 16 and from Syracuse University four years later. He earned a master's degree in psychology at Columbia University and went on to receive his M.D. from Chicago Medical School, after which he served as a psychiatrist in the Public Health Service. He married Winifred Kron and began training at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, graduating when he was 40. Widowed at 41, he later married Bernice Schutzer, who survives him.

A lifelong music devotee, he sang in the Collegiate Chorale and other choruses and had a fling with cello-playing. An avid tennis player till knee injuries sidelined him, he was a keen walker till his last years. Always eager for new experiences, he traveled all over the world with his family, from Europe to South America, China, and India. Of all countries, Italy held his fascination most, leading to investments in Italian lessons and many home espresso machines.

He possessed a caustic wit, with an affinity for puns and spoonerisms. He also wrote poetry and recited others' poems, such as W. E. Henley's "Invictus," especially the lines "I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul." Most of all, he had a real verve for life, an enthusiasm he communicated to his family, friends, patients, and supervisees. Independent in his work, he was not affiliated with any specific school of analysis. He loved to teach, and from many, many accounts, his students loved their teacher.

In addition to his wife, his survivors include his children, Debby and David Galef; his stepchildren, Dena and David Schutzer; his sister, Marian Weinberg; and seven grandchildren. A memorial will be held at 4:00 on Wednesday, June 6, at the Women's Club, 37 Drake Road, Scarsdale, NY.
Published on NYTimes.com from May 17 to May 18, 2012