Many here were saddened to learn of our colleague Jean Kushleika’s death. Here’s a copy of the letter that Joanne Naegele sent to the family in remembrance.
Jean Pauline Kushleika
1925 – 2010
By Joanne Naegele
Feb. 5, 2011
2PM University House
I learned from Karen on December 27, 2010 that Jean had died Dec. 24, on Christmas eve morning, very much herself. Her indomitable spirit was strong. Karen had thought to call me because when in Cleveland, I received a Christmas card on Dec. 23 from Jean, signed by Karen and Jean, I felt I should be in touch. So I called, leaving messages at Jean’s apartment and at Karen’s home, which I understood Jean heard. I was sending my love to my friend and colleague.
I alerted the members of the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center, of which Jean was an active member in her years in Cleveland, until she took off for Seattle in 2005, to be near her children and grandchildren. Betty Fleming, Ruth Hall, Drew Clemens, Sue Tucker, Marv and Micki Brook, Lainie Hadden, Marjorie Johnson…so many strong friendships and ties she had to the professional community.
The memories flooded me as I thought with pleasure of the life she and Vit had together. He, as orchestra member, traveled extensively with the Cleveland Orchestra and Jean sometimes accompanied him in travels to exotic places, according to Betty Fleming.
Jean trained first as a social worker then as a child psychoanalyst, through the Cleveland Center for Research in Child Development, now known as Hanna Perkins. In 1972 Jean’s candidate colleagues in the Analytic Child Psychotheray Training Program included Ruth and Dick Hall, Don Leventhal & Joan Rich. She became a qualified child psychoanalyst in 1977. She loved her work on behalf of young children, through the Therapeutic Nursery school and Kindergarten at Hanna Perkins. So did I. Here we were colleagues. We both had our private practices. She shared a waiting room with John Hadden, both of them having offices in the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center Building, then at Mayfield and Euclid in Cleveland. I established myself in my own private practice office in Cleveland Heights in 1980. We both saw children and teenagers in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and we worked with parents on behalf of their young children.
Jean valued the psychoanalytic point of view. For years she was part of a study group with adult analysts in Cleveland—looking at clinical material and having a group of colleagues who valued her point of view—Drew Clemens, Rachel Baker, Sue Tucker, Norm Bley and others were members and became personal friends. I understand when she moved to Seattle for awhile she joined a study group of child analysts in Seattle who welcomed her point of view—Phyllis and Bob Tyson were members of that group, as were others…
In Cleveland she had a liason to pediatricians—Richard Bloomfield, a pediatrician who had been analysed was known to be very special. With Bob Walton, M.D., a marvelous pediatrician in private practice, she set up an introduction to him for me and I then consulted in his pediatric practice with him and his colleagues, Richard Wamsley and Tom Rohweder, for about ten years, thanks to Jean. She had done this before me within his pediatric practice but in a little different way. I then went on to teach with Dr. Walton in a hospital setting for his pediatric residents–well baby observation. Then we extended well baby observation with the pediatric residents to all psychoanalysts who were training in Cleveland…that went on for about 30 years at St. Lukes Hospital, with David Weintraub taking over, after Bob Walton left. It was one of Jean’s “ripple effects.”
Jean and Vit became friends to my husband, Bill Adams, whom I married in 1987 and to myself. We were neighbors, with Jean and Vit living on Corydon, just two blocks away from our home on Scarborough. On late walks through the neighborhood,Vit would feel free, if he saw our lights on and we seemed to be up, to ring the doorbell and stop in to play the piano. Being a member of the Cleveland Orchestra for what seemed to be a lifetime made the night life the good life. Jean arranged for my husband Bill, a psychoanalyst, to sing in his wonderful baritone voice, “Sometimes I feel a motherless child” at Vit’s memorial service in their home. John played the cello, in tribute to his Dad, as he is playing today, in memory of his mother.
Jean loved to travel and Ruth Hall recalled how after the child analytic meetings in New Orleans sometime in the 1980s, she and Betty Fleming and Ruth flew to Houston to Mexico City to Oaxaco to spend some memorable days beneath the Mexican sun. It is said that it was only through Jean’s efforts and knowledge of enough Spanish, that they ever got through customs in Mexico City.
Adventurer, colleague, friend, wonderful woman who loved life and loved her family, here is to a life well-lived. I will miss you but will remember your “joie de vivre.”
Read the obituary in the Plain Dealer.