Richard Rees

Richard Rees, a 68-year-old resident of Palmyra, Virginia, died on July 18. The cause of his death was organ failure related to osteogenesis imperfecta

For the last 41 years, he was a Virginia resident. He lived first in the Great Falls area from 1979 until 2012, and then moved to Lake Monticello, Palmyra, on the outskirts of Charlottesville.

His first five years, he lived in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, where he was born in 1951 to Robert M. Rees and Barbara Mittelman Rees. When born, he was discovered to have a rare congenital birth defect known as brittle bones (osteogenesis imperfecta). He walked with the help of braces until the age of 12, and then was able to walk without them. His ability to shed his braces came in part from his swimming, the physical activity he enjoyed the most.

His parents took the family to California in 1956, moving to the San Francisco suburb of Atherton, near Stanford University. Richard took full advantage of coming of age in the sixties. As a high school student, he was part of the Mid-Peninsula Free University, where he was a press operator. He wrote poetry, and joined readings at the SF State Poetry Circle. His keen interest in gestalt psychology led him to study one summer with its founder, Carl Rogers, in San Diego.

Richard attended Antioch College as an undergraduate, majoring in psychology. He returned to San Francisco in 1974 after graduating to study clinical psychology and obtain his Ph.D. at the California School of Professional Psychiatry in 1979. He wrote with ease, and enjoyed writing for pleasure. After seeking work as a therapist, he moved to northern Virginia, in 1979 to join the Central Intelligence Agency as a psychologist in the Office of Medical Services. He rose to the level of chief of their clinical group, and in 1994 was promoted to deputy director of the Office of Personnel Security. From 2000 to 2008, he served in the Directorate of Intelligence as a senior psychological analyst. From 1986 to 1990, he also created and led a consulting practice of organizational psychologists, serving corporate clients with management selection, development and conflict resolution. After retiring from the C.I.A. in 2010, he joined CENTRA, a research firm serving the intelligence community, as leader of their social science research unit. He retired from CENTRA a few years later.

Richard and his family lived in Great Falls, Virginia for many years. After moving to Palmyra in 2012, he enjoyed the pleasures of family, reading, talking back to television news, and bass fishing. He was also an active member of the Lake Monticello Homeowners Association. After a fall in 2018 that resulted in a broken neck, he was confined to a wheelchair, and limited further by the pain of a pinched nerve. His last year was made brighter by the arrival of a grandson, James Legend Owen. He is survived by his wife, Merry Catherine, and two daughters, Sarah Rees (Fredericksburg, VA) and Rachel Owen (Palmyra, VA). Richard is also survived by two brothers, Steve (Jackson Heights, New York) and Kevin (Bend, Oregon).

The family is planning no services, but would welcome any tributes to be conveyed to his wife, Cathy, at:




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