Anita Landau Hurtig, born Anita Murial Landau, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on August 6, 2009. She was 77 years old. Anita was wife to Martin Russell Hurtig for 55 years; mother to Janise, Anthony, and Elliott Hurtig; grandmother to Jonah, Gill, Mae, Reed, and Leo; and mother-in-law to Amy Teschner and Robyn Hurtig, all of Evanston, Illinois.
Anita grew up in Chicago‘s
. She was the daughter of a widowed Jewish immigrant mother and younger sister to Charlotte Iglarsh (1924-1999). Between helping out at her mother’s neighborhood store and visiting the local library, Anita developed a deep love of literature. As an English major in college, she became particularly fond of the work of Jane Austen, Henry James, and James Joyce. Anita graduated cum laude from Northwestern University in 1953.
That year Anita also married Chicago artist Martin Hurtig. Together they created a relationship based in mutual respect and trust, shared sense of adventure, and love of the arts. They raised their children in Evanston. Family was at the core of Anita’s identity. She dedicated herself to nourishing her children’s interests and supporting their pursuits with the enthusiasm she brought to every facet of her life. Because she was so outgoing and attentive, she cultivated close-knit relationships that extended beyond her family to embrace friends and colleagues as though they, too, were family.
The depth of Anita’s investment in family life was matched by commitment to intellectual and interpersonal pursuits. She received her MS in learning disabilities from Northwestern University in 1971 and practiced in that field for five years. In 1975 Anita returned to graduate school at the University of Illinois, Chicago to complete her PhD in clinical psychology. For over 20 years Anita held a position as clinical associate professor in pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also maintained a private practice as a psychotherapist. Anita published extensively in her field, particularly in the areas of psychosocial implications of sickle-cell anemia, and adolescent gender identities. In 2008, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Family Institute at Northwestern University.
Anita had a passion for intellectual growth, cultural exploration, and artistic expression. That passion extended from cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to a book club, a movie discussion group, a writing workshop, professional conferences, tennis lessons into her 70s-and a Chinese cooking group with friends that has lasted for almost 30 years. Anita was always open to new adventures, from international travel (she touched every continent) to taking up the piano at the age of 65. Anita engaged those around her with sincerity and respect, intensity and pathos, and we will all miss her deeply.
Contributions in Anita’s name can be made to the Evanston Public Library’s Gift Book Fund.