On May 4, 2011, Dr. Bobbi Jo Lyman succumbed to an intense three-month battle with pancreatitis and multiple organ failure. She was surrounded by family and close friends at the UC Irvine Medical Center. She is survived by her husband, Kit Lyman, and their sweet dog, Lucy.
Born Roberta Jo Pettit, she sometimes called herself "Bobbi Jo" and was affectionately known as "B.J." to family, friends, students and colleagues. She was a student of life, a perpetual researcher and a supporter of all who crossed her path. Her career spanned over four decades and included musician, entertainer, psychologist, teacher, researcher and writer. Her biggest contributions where perhaps made in her role as Chair of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Department at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute.
She served in this role from 2003 to 2008, masterful not only in teaching and mentoring students but in developing and evaluating curriculum, supervising doctoral research, serving on the Institutional Review Board for research with human subjects and serving as disability specialist for students' American with Disabilities Act accommodations. All this and more she did with great skill, passion and compassion.
Even as B.J. stepped into semi-retirement in the fall of 2008, she opened a new chapter of service to prenatal and perinatal psychology; in November 2010 she chaired one APPPAH's most successful international Congresses. B.J. was one of the true pioneers in prenatal and perinatal psychology and one whose gifts will continue to give for generations to come. She published over two-dozen scholarly articles and editorials regarding prenatal and perinatal psychology. She also served as primary faculty/mentor or committee member on over 100 masters theses and doctoral dissertations. Her first book, Prenatal and Birth Memories: Working With Your Earliest Experiences to Help Your Life Today, serves as a practice manual for clinicians and a workbook for clients. She also left a near-completed manuscript for a second PPN book.
Even though B.J. did her work quietly, never seeking recognition, she did receive "The 2002 President's Distinguished Instructor Award" at City University and Honorable Mention in contributing to an article on "Navigating the Nuances: A Matrix of Considerations for Ethical-Legal Dilemmas," published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (1999). And in the book "Piece of My Heart: The Stories of Twenty-Six Women in Viet Nam" (1997), Presidio Press, this compilation of experiences of the war in Southeast Asia devoted one chapter to B.J.'s two tours (1967-1971) as musician/entertainer to the troops. Yes, in a "prior life"—from 1964 to 1983—B.J. was a musician and entertainer. Beginning at age 18, she traveled throughout the United States and abroad, including entertaining the troops in Vietnam during the war. She remained passionate about rock music and finally fulfilled her dream of recording a CD containing all original songs in 1996. B.J. brought this love of music, along with her guitar, into the classroom at SBGI. Students always enjoyed hearing her sing and joining her on songs written specifically for them as grad students, as well as old favorites like "Me and Bobbie McGee."
B.J.'s advanced education included her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a behavioral (medicine) health specialization from Fielding Graduate University in the summer of 2000. Her dissertation was entitled "The Effects of Maternal Stressors on Behavioral Conditions Found in Human Newborns." In addition to her tenure at SBGI, she taught at Olympic Community College, Washington School of Professional Psychology/Argosy University, Walden University and Pacifica Graduate Institute.
B.J. served as JOPPPAH's Editor in Chief from 2002 to 2009, and served on APPPAH's board of directors from 2008 - 2011.
Our entire field, and many of us personally, have all lost a devoted friend, mentor, and colleague. And, the world is a much better place because B.J. Lyman was here. She leaves her mark on all our hearts and her influence will be felt for generations.
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