A Tribute to Virginia Satir and Friends

Bio LInk

Virginia Satir

Often called the “mother of family therapy,” Virginia Satir (1916-1988) started her professional life as an educator after graduating from the Milwaukee State Teachers College (now the University of Wisconsin) in 1936. While working as a public school teacher, Virginia developed an interest in meeting and working with her students’ parents – recognizing early on that engaging the support of parents not only yielded more successful outcomes for her students in the classroom, it also unlocked potential for healing within their families as well. She began to see the family as a microcosm for the larger world, famously stating, “If we can heal the family, we can heal the world.”

Her interest in working with families led her to pursue further education at the University of Chicago where she earned her Master of Social Work degree in 1948. From early on in her career, Virginia recognized the significant role that families often play in contributing to an individual’s problems and by extension their crucial role in contributing to the healing process. Her unique approach and ability to help difficult clients quickly led to recognition and demand as a consultant, author, and world-renowned trainer – as well as countless awards that included being voted “Most Influential Therapist” in two national surveys of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists (Psychotherapy Networker, 2007).

During her lifetime, Virginia wrote several widely acclaimed books on the subject of family therapy and she helped establish organizations such as the Mental Research Institute, International Human Learning Resources Network (IHLRN), and The Avanta Network (now The Virginia Satir Global Network) for the purpose of training and providing resources for therapists. She remained devoted to helping others and worked tirelessly up until her death in 1988 writing and traveling the globe as a trainer and lecturer.

The Satir Model ultimately expanded beyond the realm of family therapy and became recognized as applicable to all situations where improving human communication and growth is desired, proving to be useful in areas ranging from therapy and social work to education and information technology. The principles embodied in Virginia Satir’s unique combination of intelligence, insight, and compassion are universal in their applicability to the human condition, and there is little doubt that she deserves her status as one of the most significant figures in the history of modern therapy.

More information about Virginia Satir can be found at Good Therapy.

Virginia Satir BIO

Joseph Daniel Dillon (9/8/28-3/2/2021)

Joseph Daniel Dillon, (92), of Vista, California, passed away March 2, 2021. Joe was born to Florence M. Detzel and Stephen V. Dillon in Tulsa, Oklahoma, September 8, 1928.  He was a member of Christ the King Parish and attended Marquette school in Tulsa for 12 years.  He was a super athlete in high school, exceling in basketball, baseball, and football.

Joe attended St. Benedict College in Atchison, Kansas. He entered the seminary in 1948 and studied at Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis, Missouri, and at St. John’s Seminary in Little Rock, Arkansas where he earned a bachelor degree in Liberal Arts.  He was sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, where he earned a graduate degree in theology, and was ordained a priest, July 19, 1953.

His first assignment as a priest was St. Francis Parish, Stillwater, Oklahoma where he also served as Newman Chaplain at Oklahoma A&M.  He was named Vice Rector of St. Francis Seminary in Oklahoma City, in 1958, and in 1960 was also appointed director of the Association for Christian Development, an organization of women volunteers. In 1961 he became Diocesan Director of Religious Education and studied for a year at Lumen Vitae, a religious education center in Brussels, Belgium. He served as the first Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa from 1962 to 1969 during the exciting years of the Second Vatican Council.  In 1969, he became Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Oklahoma City.

Joe decided to leave the active ministry in 1971 and shortly thereafter married Carole A. Molyneaux, a former Catholic nun.

After working in Washington, DC, and Indianapolis, Joe and Carole settled in Vista, California, where their son David was born in 1974.  Carole and Joe both obtained PhDs in Psychology and were licensed as marriage and family therapists.  They served in this profession both in Vista and in Davenport, Iowa for 30 years.  Joe was a long-time member of the Virginia Satir Global Network with the mission to further the creation of healthy and just relationships. He served two terms on the Board of Directors and was a trainer for four summers in Crested Butte, Colorado.  The Satir Global Network named Joe a Living Treasure in the year 2000.

Joe is survived by his son David, daughter-in-law Lindsay Witmer Dillon, two granddaughters Brooklyn and Molly, niece Stephani Franklin and husband Keith, niece Melanie Seaman, and grand-niece Taylor, husband Connor Wann, and great-grand nephew Oliver.

Dr. Robert S. Spitzer

Bob Spitzer was born on September 16, 1926 in St. Louis and passed away peacefully in his Palo Alto home on December 17, 2015, surrounded by his loving family. A seeker and artist, he left the world a better place.

Bob’s parents, Harry and Anna, moved from Europe to America seeking a better life. Bob grew up with the affection of his elder sister Lucille, while big brother Jerry cultivated Bob’s wit and competitive spirit. Bob tried to enlist in the Navy in World War II but was rejected for epilepsy, so he forged his medical record and served in the Merchant Marines as cadet officer in East Asia.

After the war, Bob entered Yale, where he embraced a variety of intellectual pursuits, graduating in philosophy in 1949. Finishing near the top of his class at Harvard Law School in his first year, he decided he was smart enough to become a doctor. After passing the Bar, he focused on psychiatry at Washington University Medical School where he developed a lifelong fascination with the mind and the empirical approach. When the Psychoanalytic Institute rejected him because “he didn’t know himself well enough”, this ignited an inner search that lasted throughout his life.

While in law school, Bob met Becky, the love of his life, and thus began their 64-year courtship. Early in their romance, Becky took him to Colorado for the “cabin test,” where he proved his worth hiking, chopping wood, and joining campfire sing-a-longs at 9,600 feet. They returned almost every year, eventually bringing their children, Mandy, Dan, and David, and their families as well. In the 1950’s, Becky inspired Bob when he saw her participate with her sister Jane in civil disobedience protests against segregated lunch counters. He directed this inspiration toward a life of civil rights and social justice work.

Bob moved his family to Palo Alto in 1961, where he joined the Stanford faculty and the Mental Research Institute, a center of pioneering work in behavioral sciences. Bob was exhilarated by his colleagues and in particular, by Virginia Satir. This led to decades of creative partnership. Bob acquired the publishing house, Science & Behavior Books, releasing many seminal books that influenced millions of mental health professionals. When Virginia, Bob, and Becky helped to establish IHLRN (an international association of therapists), Bob felt for the first time that he could impact a broad community.

Meanwhile Bob explored other approaches to community development. With Becky, he established the first free and anonymous pregnancy testing service in California. In the late 1960’s, he formed an intentional community on land he bought in the Santa Cruz mountains, which for the past 40 years has been home to dozens of artists and writers in diverse fields. It was the center of the nascent “home birth” movement in Northern California, which Bob supported medically and financially. Neurolinguistic Programming was also created there, along with important works by Gregory Bateson. Combining his legal and psychiatric perspectives, Bob brought a holistic approach to the treatment of incest. He included the extended family among the victims as they also suffered from the crime. He founded Parents United, which became an international organization that both provided broad-based therapy and drove policy change, resulting in the reform of California’s relevant laws.

Bob was a patriot who believed America had the obligation to engage responsibly in the world. He was outraged by the Vietnam War and was arrested for blocking the Oakland draft center in 1967, leading to 10 days in jail “which became a teach-in with colleagues ranging from Roy Kepler to Joan Baez”. Bob traveled to Nicaragua many times to record America’s secret engagement in the Iran-Contra arms deals, often filming with bullets flying around him. His activities included the famed “Baseball for Peace” journeys with San Francisco Giants Manager Dusty Baker and other athletes. Bob’s activism included filming Brian Willson sitting on railroad tracks to stop an armaments shipment before he was run over by the speeding train. Bob’s footage was broadcast internationally, further influencing the debate on American military policy.

Bob was deeply influenced by trips to India where he learned to meditate and experienced a new reality of how people could live together and with themselves. For the last 25 years of his life, Bob didn’t eat meat with the stated purpose of challenging people to shift food priorities to feed the world. He struggled with depression throughout his adulthood, brought on by the death of his father. After trying a variety of conventional pharmacological treatments, he found marijuana to be his most effective medical intervention. Through his 60 years of psychiatric practice, he deeply honored his patients, willing to go to their dark places, while never judging them.

Bob is remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend, and mentor to many.


Margarita M. Suarez

Margarita M. Suarez, age 76, died October 17, 2018 after what she called “a blessed and full life.” She worked for peace and justice with a special sense of humor and simplicity. Margarita was born in Havana, Cuba on August 5,

1942, the fifth of 14 children of Manuel Suarez and Eloisa Gaston. She was active in the Cuban underground against Fidel Castro before a two-year stint as a novice with the Maryknoll Sisters. She completed her MA in psychosocial nursing, University of Washington. She served as a U.S. Army nurse in Vietnam, worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner, taught at the University of Washington School of Nursing, and worked as a private counselor in the areas of family interaction, child and adolescent grief, and conflict management.

On a national level Margarita conducted workshop trainings with Virginia Satir, who pioneered a family therapy model. Later she served as executive director of AVANTA The Virginia Satir Network. Margarita’s wit and wisdom brought her national prominence as a keynote speaker, mentor, and advocate for health and social services. Margarita is survived by her wife Sandi Spence, 10 brothers and sisters, 49 nieces and nephews, and many friends – especially her faith community, which accompanied her through her illness with multiple myeloma.


Gloria Taylor was  Master Therapist and a Canadian who was an advocate of medically-assisted dying.“After several weeks of battling the end stages of congestive heart failure and struggling to make every breath count, my mom, my best friend, Gloria Taylor, chose a peaceful, medical assistance in dying (MAID), end of life. On March 8th, surrounded by her family, Gloria slipped serenely into her best sleep. No longer is she in any pain…she’s free!  

Knowing is a double-edged sword. There’s sadness in knowing. But, there is also beauty. Once the decision was made, our family gathered in mom’s final days to reminisce about our shared lives together. Our hugs were deeper, our gazes longer and our words held more meaning. What a tremendous gift for all of us. 
Mom (aka GG), was able to snuggle her newborn, great granddaughter and enjoy giggles and special moments with her 3 ½ year old first, great granddaughter. She connected with faraway family, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and cousins – all taking part in the privilege of saying goodbye. These were cherished memories that we will all carry in our hearts.
While she was my champion, I know mom made a significant difference in the lives of everyone she met. Over the years, I witnessed pure love and gratitude for my mom, from so many people. We are so thankful for her incredible doctor, who became our family’s angel, her Care Partners palliative nurses, her amazing pharmacist/friend Moon and her MAID doctor Martha Taylor, who all instantly felt like family. Our hearts will forever be warmed by the copious amounts of food delivered to the door and space being held for us by loving and supportive family members and incredible friends. This has been one hell of a roller coaster ride and getting through it would not be possible without them!”
Dawn Taylor-Gilders 

BornMarch 30, 1948, Castlegar, Canada

DiedOctober 4, 2021, Kelowna, Canada

Link to her Obituary: https://erbgood.com/tribute/details/15465/Gloria-Taylor/obituary.html

Link to another article about her: https://www.therecord.com/life/2021/03/29/lifetimes-gloria-taylor-was-a-brilliant-family-therapist-who-changed-lives.html

In Memoriam: Gloria Taylor (1938 – 2021)