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A Tribute to Beatrice Rasof, PhD
Written by Henry Rasof

Lifetime SPSSI member, Beatrice Leplin Rasof was born in San Francisco on December 10, 1918. She graduated from Roosevelt High School, in Los Angeles, in 1935, and attended UCLA, where she received a B.A. in chemistry in 1940 and a teaching credential in 1941. She then worked as a scientific aide at Moffett Field, taught high school in Mt Shasta, and worked as a mathematician for Douglas Aircraft, all in California.

She married in 1946 and gave birth to a son, Henry Rasof, later that year. In the 1950s she returned to school and earned an M.A. in psychology from UCLA in 1959. She then worked at the Psychology Clinic School, the Department of Pediatric Cardiology, the Marion Davies Children's Clinic, and the Brain Research Institute, all at UCLA. While at the Department of Pediatric Cardiology she was part of a team investigating the effects of surgery on cyanotic [blue] babies and was joint author on several papers dealing with the findings of this project.

In 1964 she returned to school again and earned a PhD in psychology from UCLA, at a time when "older" women (or perhaps any older adults) were not especially welcome in doctoral programs. Her dissertation was entitled "Sensory Preference and Intersensory Functioning in Children." Her research involved use of a mainframe computer at UCLA, and stacks of IBM punch cards were always lying around.

After doing her supervised training, she went to work as a child psychologist at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where she helped guide the Pre-school Primary Child Abuse Prevention Program.

After her retirement from Harbor-UCLA in 1986, she continued to lead an active life, volunteering in an Audubon education program and with Foundation for a Global Community, followed by guiding conflict resolution programs at public schools in Carson, Calif. The children and adults involved in these programs were called Peacemakers.

During her time developing and implementing conflict-resolution programs, she was honored with two individual SPSSI SAGES awards for A School Based Program in Peaceful Conflict Resolution (1994) and Early Violence Prevention Program for Pre-School (1997). In 1996, Dr. Rasof was awarded the first Dispute Resolution Center Mediator of the Year Award by the Negotiation and Conflict Management Alumni Association. 

Most of her professional and volunteer experience revolved around children, and she was passionate about her work with them, in whatever capacity.

She also was passionate about folk dancing, birdwatching, hiking, and traveling. In her 80s she became a docent at the Palos Verdes Interpretive Center, in Rancho Palos Verdes.

She continued all of her "extracurricular" activities up to just a few days before she had a major stroke at age 92 that left her mostly paralyzed, unable to speak, and connected to a feeding tube. In spite of these handicaps, she continued attending folk dance events, visiting the South Coast Botanic Gardens, and attending concerts.

Beatrice Rasof died peacefully on December 23, 2012. She is survived by her son, Henry Rasof, a former book publishing editor and university instructor.


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