Lucy Klein, 1921 – 2021
Lucille (“Lucy”) Klein, Jungian psychoanalyst, born on August 31, 1921 in Tupelo, Mississippi, passed away on April 24, 2021, just a few months short of her 100th birthday. A daughter of the South, she retained her charming Southern accent throughout her life, which included: serving as a Navy nurse during WWII; a long marriage to Frank Klein, with whom she had 3 sons; adulthood spent largely in the region of rough-and-tumble Chicago where she held the position of CFO in the successful architectural engineering firm her husband created; and some 50 years of involvement in the Jungian circle, first as gathered around June Singer, then as housed in the building that she and Frank bought and converted into what became the C.G. Jung Center on Callan Avenue in Evanston, and since 1990 as an analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago (CSJA). A long and active and rich life, indeed!
The archetypal essence of Lucy’s personality was symbolized in the choice of her thesis topic for completion of training at the CSJA: the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion, Guanyin. Lucy not only wrote about Guanyin, she embodied the core value of the bodhisattva. For many who knew her even if only at a distance this was true, and the closer into her psychic aura one came, the more convincing and genuine her loving energy was on display. This did not mean she could not show anger and a fighting spirit when necessary – on the contrary! But above all, love permeated her being and radiated constantly from her readily smiling face. For her patients, she was both a loving Guanyin and a challenging inspiration for further individuation no matter what the stage of life they might have been in at the time.
Lucy considerably expanded the concept of lifelong learning and development for many of us: she graduated from the Chicago Institute as a Jungian psychoanalyst at the age of 70! Thereafter, she took her place in the Institute community as an active member into her 9th decade, serving on committees, functioning as a training and supervising analyst for candidates-in-training, and offering energetic leadership and support for the Institute’s educational and training mission. In her late 70’s, she managed to fight off a bout of breast cancer and went on to continue working as an analyst after her recovery. Her enthusiasm for Jungian psychology never waned, and her depth of understanding its intricacies and applying them in her clinical practice continued to evolve until her retirement in her late 80’s.
Not only did Lucy’s passion for learning and analytic practice remain constant even into deep age, her determination and will to live her personal life to the fullest continued unabated every bit as well. Love in Lucy’s life conquered aging and all the body’s challenges that come with it. In the elder communities of Olympia Fields, Illinois, where she spent her last years, she distributed the joy of life liberally and was loved by residents and staff alike. In the archetypal realm of Eros, Lucy shines as a bright star.
Remembering our dear friend of so many years, I couldn’t help thinking of the Beetles’ famous song of the 60’s, and this sentence spontaneously came to me: Lucy’s in the sky, now, a diamond. We who remain here salute you, Lucy, and will always continue to remember you with steadfast love, which, as the poet Dante testifies at the conclusion of The Divine Comedy, “moves the Sun and all the other stars.”
May 15, 2021