In Memoriam by Gerald Perlman, Ed Svasta and Others
On behalf of The New York Society for Bioenergetic Analysis and with a heavy heart I am sad to announce, as some of you may already know, that Bob Lewis, MD died on Monday April 24, 2023 after a prolonged but valiant struggle with bladder cancer. He was in hospice at home surrounded by his family.
Bob was a pioneer in our field and he will be greatly missed by many of us. Some of you may also be aware that I have been working on editing a book of Bob’s publications and presentations for the last two years with the assistance of his son Gene, his daughter, Missy and his close friend and colleague Ron Panvini. Gene privately published a draft of the book. So, Bob was able to see and hold a concrete copy of it shortly before he died.
Those of us involved with the book will continue to work on a final copy of his very important contributions to the theory and practice of Bioenergetic Analysis. We hope to publish it in the not too distant future.
Bob’s family has informed us that there will be a memorial for Bob probably sometime this summer. As soon as the details are available, we will inform the members of IIBA.
New York Society for Bioenergetic Analysis | Gerald Perlman
Bob and I go back together many years even to the original IBA. I was in the first formal Bioenergetic Training Class in New York about 1970 for 4 years taught by Al Lowen and John Pierrakos and others. The training format was expert lecturing, demonstrating and discussion followed by discussion between students and trainer. No discussion between students. In the second year of training Bob came as trainer and the first thing he said to us was let’s have group discussion between students. This was a refreshing and valuable addition.
In 1975 Bob was the first trainer to go to Europe to Belgium in our great formal European expansion. Two months later I went to the Netherlands. We swapped ideas and experiences.
Bob and I lived 3 blocks apart in Manhattan on East 89th street and often rode home together in cabs after a Bioenergetic meeting. We often discussed finer points of reality quite contentiously but always ended up friendly. Also, occasionally he and his wife and I would have dinner together.
So we had a rich and interesting relationship and I will miss him. I hope he didn't suffer too much at the end.
Speaking of endings, two items. Thanks to the IIBA for keeping us informed of the deaths of long-time colleagues as you have done in the past year and the responses. And I'm 93 years old now and believe post-mortems are essentially for the survivors as the dead are back to the earth and cosmos and never heard from. I had a wonderful life in Bioenergetics with many of you and I'm still fairly strong and clear, so if you are inclined to correspond, I'd like to hear from you.
“… I feel for Bob an immense respect for his work of great richness and originality, for his incredible humanity made of tenderness, humor and sometimes innocence …”
“… He was a brilliant and unique human being and will be missed …”
“… I remember especially Bob’s presence intellectually and energetically as he shared the profound truth of the connections to thought and mind! He gave all of us, including me, an appreciation of the place cognition in the energetic process. I feel especially blessed with having known and felt his heart in our work …”
“… The last few days have been a time for reflection on the life of Robert Lewis. I feel such gratitude for his impact upon my life as well as his numerous contributions to the entire IIBA community. Thank you, thank you, dear Bob for all you have given us over the years! You will be greatly missed …”
“… Bob was one of the most important people in my life. I will never forget my work with him nor will I forget him …”
“… I have known Bob for more than 35 years. He has been one of my main trainers in my IIBA-training and he was not only a wonderful und friendly man but also a very good and creative teacher. I learnt so many important methods and interventions from him that I use till today - often thinking of him with a thankful smile …”
“… I have known Bob for many, many years as a colleague with a quirky inquisitive mind, indomitable spirit and his very own idiosyncratic style of working. His life within Bioenergetics spans the time from the very beginnings of the Institute, even before there was an IIBA, to today’s Bioenergetic Society with its many international institutes. He managed to stay relevant and beloved throughout. Honoring Bob for me also means mentioning/admiring his capacity to challenge some of Lowen’s theorizing while staying deeply committed to Bioenergetics, not an easy feat ...”
“… He was a very special person who touched us all so deeply, and from the depth and honesty of his pain and love he was able to support so many of us in such a profound way. One session with him in 2010 after the Lowen memorial totally transformed my sense that I was doomed. How can one ever repay him for such a transformation, except attest to his qualities as an amazing therapist and human being …”
“… We shall honour his memory as a person, a therapist, a teacher, someone with courage and innovative ideas …”
“… Bob has been someone very special to me. His creativity, his humbleness and his huge wisdom made him an incredibly marvellous therapist and healer. His deep knowledge allied with such deep care made me feel very humble and wishing to always learn more from him, which I did …”
“… Bob was always an inspiration, mentor, creative voice. He often spoke with passion and courage, and told his truth in a very powerful way, he will be greatly missed…”
“… Bob's keynotes were explorations of his own vulnerabilities as a therapist, as well as theoretically informative. He continually challenged my thinking and I will miss his teasing and his warm hugs ...”
“… I met Bob more than 40 years ago when I was a young trainee. I will miss him for his intellect to his passion …”
“… His unique contribution to bioenergetic analysis, has been inspiring for generations of bioenergetic therapists. I am mourning a wonderful mentor and colleague, and above all, a kind and generous human being …”
“… There are some people in life that just thinking about them makes you smile. I'm still smiling, Bob, in my grief and shock. Many laughs and many powerful bonding experiences. You are forever in my heart …”
Interview with Bob Lewis by Ron Panvini
Watch our Emeritus Interview with Bob Lewis by Ron Panvini during the 25th IIBA International Conference (❝A bioenergetic view of love, healing, connection and authenticity❞) which took place from May 22 to 26, 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHCGhHljQf8&feature=youtu.be