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Johanna Ghei Anderson ’57

October 23, 2022, in Madison, Wisconsin, at home.

Johanna grew up in the Cannon Valley of rural Minnesota, near the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Her brother and cousins were her companions and she went to Red Wing public schools, participated in 4-H, and developed skills as a baker and seamstress.

Her mother was appointed ambassador to Denmark, and the family moved to Copenhagen, where Johanna became fluent in the language, attained her diploma at Aurehøj Gymnasium, and made lifelong friends.

Johanna studied at Reed and then the University of Minnesota, where she completed both a BA and an MA in psychology. During her studies in Minnesota, she met and married Som Ghei, a psychologist from India pursuing a PhD with a Fulbright Scholarship. They lived in New Delhi with his family, and she taught mathematics and science at the American School. Returning to the U.S., they lived in Vermont and New Hampshire, and then settled with their children in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Johanna developed a long and varied career in the field of psychology, first specializing in child psychology, including working to establish the effectiveness of the Head Start program and evaluating mental health in children and adolescents. She later expanded her involvement in the field, completing her PhD at the University of Wisconsin with a study of Karen Horney’s concept of the real self. As a licensed psychologist, Johanna focused in the areas of grief and loss, women’s self-esteem, and trauma. She established a private practice working with her colleague and close friend, Bonnie Gunnon.

Johanna achieved her goal of placing the family’s rural Red Wing land into the protection of the Minnesota Land Trust for conservation of the land in perpetuity. She was a devoted cinema fan, a perennial flower gardener, an avid bird watcher, and a longtime member of Wisconsin Public Radio.

She is survived by her children, Kiren, Raman, and Gita Ghei ’88, and grandchildren, including Rajni Schulz ’23.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2023

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