Cover photo for Alex Gitterman's Obituary
Alex Gitterman Profile Photo

Alex Gitterman

March 21, 1938 — March 24, 2024

Scarsdale, NY

We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Alex Gitterman on March 24, 2024.

Alex was a man of warmth, optimism, intellectual prowess and a vibrant sense of humor. He was born in Poland and during the war years evaded Nazi detection through the heroic care of his mother. He came to America at the age of eight. He approached each day of the rest of his life as a blessing. Alex received his college degree from Rutgers University, his MSW from the Hunter College (Silberman) School of Social Work and his EdD. From Columbia University, Teachers College. His empathy and experience led to the development of what became his profound insights about the human condition and strategies for helping. In 1969, Alex joined the faculty of the School of Social Work at Columbia University. He left Columbia in 1999 to work, until the present, at the Connecticut School of Social Work. During his tenure at both institutions Alex was known for his extraordinary talent as a teacher, his integrity as a colleague and his leadership in many administrative roles. He was revered by his students who frequently described his teaching as transformative. Alex worked with his colleague Carel Germain on reconceptualizing notions of social work practice utilizing an ecological model. This resulted in the publication of The Life Model of Social Work Practice which is now in its 4th edition and has profoundly influenced the practice of social work, along with the elaboration of mutual aid in groups. Throughout his career, Alex authored or co-authored many books, countless chapters and journal articles and received many awards for his scholarship and teaching including the Significant Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council on Social Work Education. Alex was deeply devoted to his family. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Naomi Pines Gitterman, his children Sharon, Daniel (Amy) and his grandchildren, Max and Claire. A memorial celebration of his life is being planned.

A memorial celebration of Alex's life will be held on ZOOM in several weeks. 


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