Elaine Louise Bawden PhD
Dr. Elaine Bawden died on Wednesday 20th September 2023 at the age of 76.
Elaine was born on August 28th 1947 in Winchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Marjorie and John Comack. She grew up in Massachusetts and Florida where her parents owned a second home, attending public school in both states. She attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, graduating with a B.S.N in Nursing (1969), Boston University where she completed her M.S.N in Psychiatric Nursing (1977) and the University of New Mexico where she earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology in 1997.
Throughout her life Elaine served others. Her professional interests through an almost forty-year career focused on trauma and crisis intervention, the treatment of the chronic mentally ill, and homelessness. While living in the Northeast she worked in the psychiatric units of hospitals in Connecticut and Massachusetts, also serving as a psychiatric nursing instructor and a counselor in various Mental Health Crisis Clinics in eastern Massachusetts.
Following her family’s move to Albuquerque in 1985, Elaine licensed as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing in the State of New Mexico. In this capacity she worked as a volunteer counselor for Healthcare for the Homeless, then as a specialist and director of Project Care, a pilot program for the homeless mentally ill of Albuquerque based at St. Martin’s Hospitality Center. During her subsequent doctoral program at the University of New Mexico Elaine worked for its Counseling Assistance and Referral Service, serving couples and individuals and women prisoners at Bernalillo County Detention Center. Upon completion of her doctoral degree Elaine ran a six-year private psychiatric counseling practice, then for the final years before retirement in 2007 directed a residential psychosocial rehabilitation program for homeless veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. At various times through her Albuquerque career, she taught part-time in the nursing programs at the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College.
Even after retirement Elaine maintained a commitment to public service. She engaged with the American Red Cross as a volunteer psychiatric specialist, serving during numerous disasters in New Mexico and elsewhere in the US including Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Following final retirement from the Red Cross in 2015 she was awarded the Red Cross Certificate of Dedicated Service.
Elaine is survived by her husband of forty-six years, Garth Bawden. She possessed a strong love of family and was a central figure in a large and diverse family that she regarded as her “clan”. This includes a wonderful group of children and stepchildren, Jonathan, Rebecca, Michael, Teona, Kerenza and Alison and their spouses and eleven children, her brother Stefan and his wife Nancy and their five children and their families. She enjoyed the frequent family visits and gatherings that brought this family together.
Elaine and Garth enjoyed their travels over many years earlier with their children and later as travel partners in the US and in many other countries around the world. They were also long-term members of the Tango Club of Albuquerque and traveled to many tango events in this country, Argentina, and Europe. Indeed, Elaine danced until a short time before her death.
As Elaine wished, her memorial will be a private family celebration of her life. Please send donations to the American Red Cross.