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Melva Newman, 1932-2022

Published on Monday, June 20, 2022 | 5:53 am

Friends of Melva Newman, social worker, psychotherapist and professor of social work at Cal State LA, Cal Poly Pomona, Pepperdine, CSU Northridge, and Pacific Oaks College, will gather together in a Celebration of Life in her memory on Saturday, June 25, via Zoom. 

Melva Newman died in her home on Sept. 23, 2020. She was 90 years old. 

Melva Newman was born in 1932 in the American South and moved to Los Angeles with her extended family during the period in which many Black families in the South moved to Northern and Western Cities. In Los Angeles, she graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School at 16, and started college at UCLA in the fall after graduation. 

She received her BA in Psychology and later enrolled in USC, where she received her Master of Social Work degree and where she met future husband Joe. They were married for over 60 years until his death and had three daughters: Sheri, Toni, and Colette. 

As a licensed clinical social worker, Newman dedicated her time to help people improve their mental health, their relationships and education. 

Newman co-founded the Foothill (Mental Health) Free Clinic and created mental health programs for Pasadena’s Jackie Robinson Center, the Institute for the Study of Black Parenting, Project DAY, the Positive Parenting Workshop, the Cambodian refugee center, and the YWCA social work internship program, among others.

She retired in the early 80s as a psychotherapist with Family Actualization, the company she founded. 

Newman was an avid art collector and was on the board of the Pasadena Symphony and frequented the Pasadena Playhouse, the LA Opera, and other area theaters. She always welcomed everyone to her home. 

Melva Newman left behind her daughters Sheri, Toni, and Colette; her grandchildren, and many cousins and friends.

The Celebration of Life in her memory begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday. To request a link to the Zoom event, send an email to

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