Dr. Beverly Prosser Gelwick, of Cundy’s Harbor, passed away peacefully on July 21, surrounded by those she loved. Over the course of a joyous and accomplished life, she was an avid sailor; a voracious reader; a fiercely supportive wife, mother and grandmother; and a trailblazing scholar and activist.

Born on Sept. 6, 1932, she grew up in Lisbon Falls. After high school, she entered a dual degree program at Temple University and the American Baptist Institute for Christian Workers, graduating in 1955. That same year, she married Richard Gelwick, her partner for life.

When her children entered middle school, she began graduate studies at the University of Missouri, earning her Master of Education degree in 1971 and her doctorate in 1975. Beverly was the first female doctoral candidate in the university’s Psychology Department.

Beverly’s research pioneered the study of women’s leadership roles in society and illuminated the challenges faced by women in higher education and the workforce. She championed increasing opportunities and advancement for women, and her work provided the impetus for the University Without Walls program, which broke down barriers in education to help nontraditional female students across the nation earn their college degrees.

In 1982, she was among the first researchers to recognize and propose treatment for eating disorders such as bulimia in women. As a nationally recognized leader in clinical psychology, she earned the most prestigious designation in her field, the Diplomate in Counseling Psychology, from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Over the course of her career, Beverly was committed to furthering the field of counseling psychology in colleges and universities. She began the student counseling program at Stephens College and served as the director of counseling services at Stephens, the University of New Hampshire, and Bowdoin College, before turning to private practice.

After retiring, she enjoyed sailing the Maine coast with her husband and family, remaining active in the Democratic Party, and participating in P.E.O., all while cheering on the accomplishments of her grandchildren. Her passion for learning and her commitment to social justice continued until the end of her life.

Beverly is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Richard Lee Gelwick; her brother, Richard (wife Melinda Prosser); and her parents, Beulah Morrison Prosser and Edward E. Prosser. She is survived by her daughter, Jennifer Gelwick-Luecke (husband Greg Luecke), of Portland; her son, Allen M. Gelwick (wife Almira Gelwick), of Houston, Texas; her grandchildren, Mirelle Luecke, Conrad Luecke, Sean Gelwick, Katrina Gelwick (husband Richard Ott), Garrett Gelwick and Aydin Gelwick; and her great-granddaughter, Maia Ott. She is also survived by her nephew Philip Gelwick (wife Susan Gelwick), of Tulsa, Oklahoma; niece Marsha Swift (husband Don Swift), of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; nephew Paul Prosser (Lynn Johnston), of Harpswell; niece Rhonda Prosser-Copp (husband Rick Copp), of Harpswell; and niece June Prosser Toothaker (husband Robert Toothaker), of Punta Gorda, Florida.

Celebration of life details are yet to be arranged.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at directcremationofmaine.com.