Phyllis Bronstein Remembered

Dear Friends and Colleagues of Phyllis,

As Phyllis’ daughter, I am saddened to inform you that she died of cancer on December 29th at her home in Los Altos Hills, CA. We are grieving the loss of an amazing woman who lived her roles of mother, grandmother, teacher and social activist with great passion. We are in the process of planning a memorial celebration of her life to take place on February 2nd in the Los Altos, CA area and we will be placing full obituaries in the Burlington Free Press and the San Jose Mercury News.

If you would like more information, please contact me at this email address or at

Sincerely, Jolie Burrows

Marc Kessler

Dear all,

I had the opportunity to work and teach with Phyllis. Her commitment to a humane approach and to creating opportunities for all was unwavering.

She contributed a lot to the Department and to the University. She managed to rattle many cages, which opened doors for many.

I am sorry to hear of her death.


Ingrid Herrera-Yee

Feeling sad, my mentor professor and friend in grad school, professor Phyllis Bronstein, passed away from cancer on 12/29/12. She was an important force in my life professionally and personally, and will be sorely missed :(

Thanks everyone, she was the one person who kept me at UVM, I was so ready to quit over racism there - and she was my rock. Wouldn't have my PhD without her. Thinking of going to her memorial on Feb 2nd, but its in California...appreciate everyone's warm thoughts, it means a lot :)

Michelle VanNess Knolls

Shedding tears tonight as I learned of the death of my dear friend and UVM research mentor, Phyllis Bronstein. I cannot tally the number of hours I spent working on her research team in grad school. I learned so much from her (always draft in pencil!) and will be forever grateful that she was my mentor. The best word to describe her is "brilliant". I would fumble for hours trying to find the right wording for my thesis/dissertation, hand it to her and get an edit in 30 seconds that always left me awestruck! She was such a good combination of a kind and thoughtful, but no nonsense, woman. Even though I graduated 8 years ago, she wrote a reference for me a few months ago that was so glowing it brought tears to my eyes (though not quite as many as I have now!). I will miss her very much!

Robert Lawson

I am glad to have known Phyllis over many years, and sadden to learn of her death.We played tennis regularly, Phyllis had a great back hand, and we where pretty evenly matched.We also spent time talking about psychology, and embracing transitions during our journeys. I loved Phyllis as colleague and friend and I wish her family and loved ones peace and grace.

Laurie Kaufman

Thanks for letting me know, Diana. Phyllis was a lovely woman.

Susan Lillich

I am so sorry to hear this. Phyllis was an amazing woman and one of the main reasons I came to UVM. I learned a lot from her.

Jessica Morris

Thanks so much for sending this Diana, I so adored Phyllis she was a wonderful role model.

Sam Bastien

I knew Phyllis when she first came to UVM and she supervised my clinical work in the BTPC for a semester. I am saddened to hear of her death. She was a great lady, indeed.

Rex Forehand

Phyllis Bronstein was a distinguished member of our faculty for many years. Although many of you did not know her, I thought all of you would appreciate being informed of her death.

Marina Zacco

I am really saddened by the news. When I saw the email I thought it might be Phyllis writing to me and was happy to hear from her. You may not remember me, but when you were in Italy, I lived upstairs. (I still do). It would make me really happy if I heard from you or your sister sometime, it would remind me of the nice time I had with your mother and the soul searching conversations we had. I lost my mom last year and no matter what anyone says, it isn't easy and it takes a long time to rid yourself of the pain in your hearts, although once the pain starts to fade the thoughts of her will always be with you, me, it is often in my dreams. Take care and my thoughts are with all of you.

Andrea Litto

I am very sorry to hear about Phyllis, I have been her personal chef for 10 years... It is inexplicable how much I have learned from her. The sense of how powerful your diet and soul can have influence in your body.She was always very positive, and very strong in her beliefs. Please send me the information about her memorial.

Lynne Bond

Phyllis was relentless in pushing for principles and actions in which she believed. Her sense of justice and fairness always led her behavior. She never let those around her slip into a lazy stance on issues that she deemed important. She certainly leaves a strong legacy in many spheres of her professional life--in our department, our university, and Division 35 of the APA.

Esther Rothblum

Phyllis retired near Palo Alto, so for the past several years we used to meet for lunch about twice a year, and I did hear she had died from her daughter Jolie. I also notified the UVM psychology dept.

However, I know little about Phyllis's research. What she was very passionate about was mentoring junior faculty, and she set up the faculty mentoring program at UVM. She also served as ombudswoman there. She did some research on how male and female job applicants for faculty positions are described in letters of recommendation. I suggested that she write the "Ask Aunt Academe" column for the Div. 35 newsletter, and she did a great job (they praised her work on this in the latest newsletter when they announced that she was stepping down).

Her students loved the family systems therapy teams she led over the years, and Phyllis stayed in touch with many of her students over the years.

Diana St.Louis

I had the great pleasure of being a staff person here at UVM who was able to work with Phyllis. She became a very dear friend and we continued to swap e-mails after her retirement.

I will miss her very much. She was caring, forgiving and rose well above the disparities around her.

Phyllis - I wish you much happiness in your afterlife.

Sharon Lamb

Dear Jolie, I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your mother. I met you once at her house in Williston at her retirement party. I met her when I was going through a tenure battle and she was a great support. She wrote the BEST letters of recommendation and she was always able to help a colleague see the systemic issues involved in whatever problems they were having in institutions. I loved to connect with her around issues of being a Jewish feminist. She was one of the only people I could turn to to discuss the specific issues relevant to Jewish women. She could take offense pretty easily but I always understood where that was coming from given our shared backgrounds...I loved that as a feminist the two of us could also commiserate about these sorts of things! She wrote beautifully and really cared about her research. I helped her quite consistently with her Aunt Academe column and it was fun to toss around ideas with her! I didn’t know she had cancer and feel badly that I didn’t have the opportunity to send her a few words of support. I will certainly miss her!

Phyllis Bronstein