Cover photo for Dr. Bridget Harwell's Obituary
Dr. Bridget Harwell Profile Photo
Dr. Bridget

Dr. Bridget Harwell

d. December 30, 2020

Bridget Harwell passed away gently on December 30, 2020 at her home in Cleveland Heights, OH in the company of Maria Rodriguez, her dedicated caregiver and friend, and Molly, her beloved cat. Mary Bridget was born in Cleveland to Honoria (Nora) Ward and Millard Harwell and grew up in homes filled with library books. She and her five siblings knew Cleveland inside and out. They roamed back alleyways, cut school to spend days at the library, and attended movies with scavenged nickels and the opera with donated tickets. They flew past the cemetery on the way to school, each in their own particular style, and ran out to play when it rained, at the urging of their Irish mother.

After graduating from Holy Name High School, Bridget followed her two elder sisters to Seton Hill College in Greensburg, PA. She graduated from Western Reserve University with a BA in English literature, then taught in Cleveland elementary schools and, later, in Mexico City, where she lived with her first husband, Federico Higuera. On returning to Cleveland, Bridget directed the school board's ESL program and continued to teach. Her life changed one night when she went out for a pizza and came back with a plan to attend the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Her classes there led to her studies at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA where she earned a PhD in clinical psychology. She then worked in private practice for many years as well as chairing the psychology department at Notre Dame College in Cleveland. In each of these roles, Bridget made lifelong friends and left lasting impressions with her humor, grace, intelligence, and taste for adventure.

In 1985, Bridget married Dr Charles (Chuck) Rose, a professor of computer engineering at Case Western Reserve University and a design automation software inventor and entrepreneur. Together, they drew family and friends to their home in Cleveland Heights for conversations and celebrations not soon forgotten. Bridget could speak with anyone. She could--and did--make everyone laugh. Her humor underlined her seriousness: her ability to speak directly to whatever was happening and her vast capacity to listen. Like a tree that gives shelter and shade, Bridget cared for her family, friends, and animals in loving, practical, and nuanced ways. She was a lifelong font of insightful support for all generations of her family, for her friends, and for her community. Witty and generous, she liked to be part of a gang, and she stayed connected with friends from throughout her life, linked by the love, camaraderie, and shenanigans they all shared. At once worldly and other-worldly, Bridget lent an air of complexity and mystique to the simplest experiences and an air of fun and freedom to life's more mundane tasks.

Bridget practiced Transcendental Meditation for decades. She loved and understood animals and was a dedicated patron of strays. Deeply creative, she wrote short stories, poetry, and a novel and published the book "Lies: The Truth about the Self-Deception That Limits Your Life" with her longtime friend and colleague, Elizabeth Scott, PhD. Most recently, she was a valued member of three poetry groups. Bridget loved Cleveland and lived there all her life except for her years away at college, three years in Mexico City, two years in Palo Alto, and numerous trips to Ireland, where she felt entirely at home.

Left to remember Bridget's love, wisdom, and humor are her sisters, Dr Audrey Curran of Chagrin Falls, OH and Sharon Harwell of Silverdale, WA; her nephews and nieces, Robert Curran, Michaela Curran, Aline Curran, Mike Hayden (Maureen Mayhew), Aileen Hayden (Jason Su), Thomas Hayden (Erika Check Hayden), Christine Britt (Louis Mendoza), and Audrey Bridget Michelson; her great-nephews and nieces, Robert Criste Curran III, Michaela and Caitlyn Curran, Lauren and Dylan Michelson, and Seamus and Eleonora (Nora) Hayden; Chuck's children, Mary Beth Barnstone (Anatole) and David Rose (Amy), and grandchildren, Henry, Clara, and Millie Barnstone and Bea Rose; and her many friends and colleagues. She was predeceased by her husband Chuck, her father Millard, her mother Nora, her sister Joan Harwell Hayden, and her brothers John and Franklin.

An online memorial will take place for family and friends.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Bridget Harwell, please visit our flower store.


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