Dr. Peter Jeffrey Kosseff of Newport, Rhode Island passed away at home on June 7, 2022 after a valiant battle with cancer. He approached his fight against cancer with the same fortitude he applied to all aspects of his life. Throughout this time, the dedicated support of his family and steadfast friends was greatly appreciated.
Peter was born on January 18, 1944 and raised in New York City and Ossining, New York. He received a B.A. from Syracuse University in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in 1972. Early in his career, Peter worked at the Brooklyn Veterans’ Administration Hospital, The Children’s Village, and Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, all in New York State. After moving to Newport, Peter joined the Newport County Community Mental Health Center where he developed the Children’s Mental Health Services. He later established private practices in Wakefield and Newport, providing therapy to countless individuals and families. Additionally, Peter advocated for children and families in the Rhode Island court system, frequently appearing as an expert witness as well as serving as the first psychologist appointed as a guardian ad litem in the state. He also acted as a consulting psychologist at St. George’s School, Salve Regina University, and the Newport Head Start Program.
A resident of Newport for almost fifty years, Peter cherished spending time at the beaches, riding his bike around Ocean Drive, and taking walks to see the snowy owls and other wildlife at Sachuest Point. Throughout his life, he was passionate about exploring the scholarly and natural worlds; he read avidly and embraced opportunities to travel, backpack, kayak, swim, snorkel, and ski. Peter was unfailingly generous and always made himself available to listen to and support his family and friends. He volunteered at Sachuest Point, on various political campaigns, and on committees addressing the needs of the Newport public schools.
Peter is survived by his wife of fifty-six years, Pamela, with whom he shared a phenomenal love of each other and of their family. He is also survived by his son Alex of Nederland, Colorado, and his partner, Rebecca Katz, his daughter Lauren, and her husband Heath Robinson of New Rochelle, New York. Peter was an exceptionally enthusiastic grandfather to Gus, Eli, and Luke. He imbued his grandsons with his adoration of nature, particularly relishing their time together searching for sea creatures at Third Beach’s Crabtown and caring for them in his saltwater aquariums. Peter is also survived by his loving stepmother Elaine Kosseff, devoted brothers, Andrew (Nancy) and Christopher (Betty), and numerous nieces and nephews.
Donations in Peter’s memory may be made to the Norman Bird Sanctuary or Save the Bay. A Memorial Service will be held at 1:30 on June 24th at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, Rhode Island.
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!