Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Westporter Judianne Denson-Gerber Dead at 68
Longtime Westport resident Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, a lawyer and psychiatrist who gained notoriety for founding a drug treatment program in New York and went on to give widely quoted but sometimes disputed testimony on subjects like child abuse and pornography, has died at the age of 68.
An obituary in todays New York Times notes Densen-GerberҒs often-controversial background, including her becoming a conspicuous figure at public hearings, society balls, and ghetto demonstrations with her bouffant hairdo, rhinestone-studded glasses and cigars.
The cause of her death was cancer, said her daughter Dr. Sarah Baden, who said her mother had traveled to New York for Mothers Day Sunday where she died. Densen-Gerber had been a Westport resident since the mid-70s.
Comments: Comment Policy
Dr. Judianne Densen Gerber was a dynamic women who blessed my life. I met her in Odyssey House in 1974. After going through the drug treatment facility I worked for her graphic arts shop and green house in New York. She always encouraged me in graphic arts. I’ve gone on to live a very successful and productive life as a graphic designer and woodcarver. I have a beautiful wife of 23 years and a fantastic son and daughter. Thanks to Judy who gave me “roots and wings”, I have been drug free for 27 years. God bless you Judy !!!!
Judi, was my healer. She believed in me when everyone else including myself had given up. I was in Odyssey House frm 1977-1980 in both the New York and New Hampshire facilities. Judi and Odyseey House allowed me to grow, and have a life. I have been drug free for the last 25 because of her dream, and encouragement, and lots of hard work and support from myself and countless others. I learned how to be me, and rely on myself, trust others, and handle what life keeps insisting on handing me. So much of what I learned all those years ago I still you on a daily basis, I will miss Judi forever and will continue to be greatful that she had a dream and we mainlined it. I would love to hear from fellow residents people I knew and people I didn’t we are family. If anyone has any information or a way to contact Joey Lamberti or Matty Ancona please let me know. Thank you.Forecver in my heart Marti Fisher LoMonaco
I graduated Odyssey House in 1971. I have been drug free since then. I am an ER physician and enjoying life. Judi saved my life. Thank you.
I graduated from Odyssey House in 1979 and knew Judi well back then. Judi’s Odyssey House program, however controversal, I am certain saved my life and taught me how to become a productive member of society. For that I’ll be eternally grateful.
As I write this my heart is broken. I was planning a trip to New York this summer with my wife and daughter. Having spoken to my wife so often of the influence Judi had on my life, I wanted them to meet. I went to Odyssey by court order from New Mexico, an angry drug-addicted Vietnam Vet. Although I didn’t graduate from the program, the counseling and wisdom I received from that Wonderful Woman changed my life forever.Even though I struggled for a number of years after Odyssey, including two trip to PTSD programs in VA Hospitals, it was Judi’s words that never left my mind and heart. It was through her inspiration that I never gave up fighting the addiction and the problems left over from Vietnam.
My fondest memories was the summer Rob Parsons and I spent with her and the family in Washington Connecticut. Between games of badminton and swimming with the kids, there was constant counseling with Judi. On this anniversary of her passing, I express my deepest sympathy to Sarah, Trissa and Lindsey, and say to them, Your Mother was the most extrordinary woman I have ever known in my 62 years of life, and I will never ever forget her. Judi was and is the most influencial person ever in my life, and that I am a successful husband and father today is only because of her teachings. I am only sorry I waited so long to tell her. But who knew? I thougth of her as an indestructible force who would always be with us. I am totally heartbroken and devastated. To Dr. Sarah, Trissa and Lindsey and anyone else who knew and loved Judi, if you are ever in Dallas please give me a call. My home number is 972-712-6370.
I met Judianne at New York’s Metropolitan Hospital
in June 1965 where she was the psychiatrist on call when I was on the verge of suicide. I am English and she understood the English culture and she was the perfect person to help me. She unravelled my messed up mind, taught me to understand and accept my past, but most important of all, she gave me the strength to change my life and she gave me dignity. I have been thinking a lot about her recently and wanted to get in touch again. The last time I saw her was when she came to London in the early 70’s and I had High Tea with her at her hotel. I am devastated to hear that she has died. I wanted to tell her how well my life has turned out, about my children’s sucesses, my husband and about my 6 grandchildren. She was the most marvellous woman and I am proud to have known her.
I always say that I was born when I was 29 years old - the year Judianne treated me.
I was inspired to write given the honest and heartfelt sentiments expressed re ;Judi and the impact that thos emay have on her childen. The was a patient of Judi’s in the late 80’s and it is no exaggeration to say that she rescued me from state institutionalization by recognizing my diagnosis and employing the correct techniques to wean me from the unnecessary psychotropicdrugs to which I’d been subjected for the past several years. Yes, even I evaluated Judi’s propensity for exaggeration, yet, much of the issues she fought were ‘real’ and her spirit remains with me til this today. . Ieven went to the point of purchasing an authenticated, ‘photo’ of her to display as my spiritual mother… this is not a stretch.
I miss her, and hope that her daughters and her ex-husband Michael Baden, recognize the depth of her love for them on a daily basis.
“Snowball” was my nickname when I was in Odyssey House in Detroit. I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Densen-Gerber, but my disheveled life got a wake up call when I received treatment in Odyssey House. That was over 25 years ago. May she rest in peace. She was a pioneer in the field of substance abuse treatment and deserves to be remembered for her undying efforts to help the misunderstood. She truly did help us “mainline dreams.”
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