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Matti K. Gershenfeld, 83, Psychologist, Author and ​Communal Leader

December 25, 2008
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Matti K. Gershenfeld

Matti K. Gershenfeld, 83, a psychologist, died Nov. 9. She was a resident of Philadelphia.

Gershenfeld graduated from Overbrook High School. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a master's degree from the Wharton School (the only woman in her class of 1951) and a doctorate from Temple University.

She worked for many years as a teacher at Temple University. She became an expert in group dynamics, marital therapy and psychology, authoring eight books. One book became an influential textbook in the field written with Rod Napier in 1973 that remains appreciated in its seventh edition (Groups: Theory and Experience, Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

Gershenfeld served and volunteered for many organizations. Most prominently, she was a board member of Gratz College for many years and was chair of the Board of Governors. She also served as president of the International Council of Psychologists.

In addition, she hosted a local TV broadcast called "Citizen in Action."

She earned numerous honors, and was recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. She continued with an active schedule of private practice and workshops until a few years ago.

Gershenfeld is survived by sons Beryl Gershenfeld, Howard Gershenfeld, Richard Gershenfeld and Ken Gershenfeld, in addition to 16 grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Marvin A. Gershenfeld, as well as a sister, Rose Katz.

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