Sunday, June 16, 2024


Richard Salwen, 53

Richard Salwen, a clinical psychologist raised in Westport and who was a longtime Ridgefield resident and active community member, died May 26 after a prolonged illness. He was 53.

Born in New York City, he graduated from Staples High School in 1969. He attended Northwestern University and earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham University.

After a fellowship at New York Hospital, he began his career working with cancer patients at Memorial Hospital Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York. While there, he coauthored many research articles on the impact of cancer treatment on cognitive functioning in children.

In 1986, he began a long career at Danbury Hospital, culminating in his position as director of behavioral health.

During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing several treatment programs for adolescents including the establishment of the Center for Children and Adolescent Treatment Services.

“This was a magical time of his life, during which he and his staff created a kind of ‘Camelot’ ideal treatment service, saving the lives of countless adolescents and families,” his family said.

Salwen was also very active in many state and town committees addressing issues of substance abuse and adolescents.

He had a private practice in clinical psychology in Ridgefield for many years, working with children, adults and families. He was also active within the Ridgefield community serving on the Youth Commission for many years.

Known for his keen intellect, he was a highly respected, compassionate colleague and mentor who cared deeply for his patients.

His greatest joy came from his family and friendships. He was a devoted father and husband whose pride in his children’s accomplishments was always evident.

From a young age, he loved the outdoors and was an active sportsman. A competitive fencer in college, as an adult, he was happiest riding his motorcycles, coaching his daughters’ soccer teams, kayaking and target shooting with his many friends.

Other interests included guitar playing, skiing, mountain biking and photography. His friends will remember him as a loving, gentle man who was always ready to lend a hand. He will be sorely missed.

He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Dr. Barbara Keefe, two daughters, Jessica and Kathryn, and a brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Walter and Denise Salwen (children Stepanie and Kristin) of Farmington Hills, Mich. His parents, Jeanette (Jo) and Leonard Salwen, pre-deceased him.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 4 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Westport with a reception immediately following.

A Memorial Celebration of Life will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield. All are welcome to either service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to NAMI can be made in his name. To donate, please go

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