Beverley J. Keith, PhD
October 19, 1942 – January 5, 2024
Beverley Jean Keith was born on October 19, 1942 in Jersey City, New Jersey to Isabelle and Graham Keith. The family later moved to Vermont and eventually Beverley’s parents settled in San Francisco. Beverley was a world traveler who spoke several languages. She was fascinated by art of all kinds and got her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Brynn Mawr College, graduating magna cum laude in 1964. She then took a job as a Head Start teacher, and through this, fell in love with the field of psychology. She got her Master’s degree in psychology from the New School for Social Research in 1969, going on to study with Jean Piaget at Piaget’s Institute in Switzerland until 1972. She went back to the New School to graduate with a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in 1983, with her dissertation research exploring sex stereotypes in aging. Beverley went on to work at various children’s facilities and psychiatric hospitals and to teach psychology and women’s studies at various universities over the next twenty years while establishing her legacy family practice center: Rosendale Family Therapy Center.
During the 1970s, Beverley came to the Hudson Valley, bought a piece of property in the rocky shale forest in Rosendale, and parked a school bus there, in which she determined to live until she could build her own house. She built her house in the forest, with the help of her friends, over the next decades. Many of Beverley’s current friends met her during that time, either by picking her up hitchhiking to or from her doctoral program, or to or from the mountains as she engaged in her most cherished activity: rock climbing. Her identity as a climber was perhaps even stronger than her identity as a psychologist, and her friends recall how she was often seen boldly climbing shirtless in the mountains.
Beverley’s other passion was family therapy, and she worked with families, couples, and children of widely varying ages in private practice. In 1992, Beverley bought a Victorian house on Main Street in Rosendale to establish a family therapy center. She wrote that she chose that building because: “…it was beautiful, comfortable, and welcoming.” She proceeded to invite other therapists to join her in building a group family therapy practice. She opened two more family therapy centers in Saugerties and Ellenville, where she also welcomed community therapists to join her working with families for many years.
Most will remember Beverley’s generosity: She never made decisions based upon what would make smart financial sense. Instead, she followed her socialist instincts and did what would be best for the community. This included financially supporting the projects she was involved in and donating to other community agencies, or individuals, who needed assistance. If a client could not pay, Beverley would allow them to barter. Beverley traded therapy for bookshelves, plumbing, quilts, and all manner of other items and services. She believed in the Rosendale community specifically, and characteristically bequeathed her accumulated properties and wealth to local nonprofits.
On January 5, 2024, Beverley died as she had intended: at home in the forest, with the love of her friends surrounding her in her final days. She leaves behind her brother, Ian Keith, and countless friends, admirers, professionals she supported in building their careers, and families she helped with her kindness and compassion. Beverley’s dear friend, Manus Pinkwater, sends Beverley off with this final wish: “Wherever she is, I hope there is something for her to climb!"