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Obituaries

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Margaret Stoehr spacee

Elizabeth (Bess) Davoren

Elizabeth (Bess) Davoren, Psychiatric Social Worker and Tiburon Ark columnist and theater critic, died peacefully Thursday, July 23 at the age of 92. She was recognized around the world as a pioneer in the field of treating abused children, being the only Social Worker involved in the early clinical work performed by C. Henry Kempe M.D. and Brandt Steele M.D. identifying Battered Child Syndrome as a medical condition. Bess was instrumental in developing the first medically-recognized therapies to treat abused children, and authored the chapter "The Role of the Social Worker" in Kempe's seminal book "The Battered Child" before opening a consulting practice that helped doctors, hospitals and governments around the word establish protocols and laws for identifying abuse and providing psychiatric treatment for abused children. Davoren also conducted the first survey of California doctors and hospitals to establish the level of child abuse in the state under a grant from the Rosenberg Foundation.

Bess is also remembered for her contributions as a theater critic for the Tiburon Ark and leadership in the Marin Theater Critic's Circle as an officer. Her kind hearted, thoroughly researched, and intellectually driven stories established enduring friendships with local celebrities, even once meriting a phone call at home from Cary Grant thanking her for her excellent review of his talk at the Marin Center. Bess was known for her early adoption of healthful eating and cooking habits, and was known to swim regularly in the bay from her Paradise Drive home well into her 70s. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, she was also a gifted mathematician, calculating airplane wing stress capacities during World War II with a slide rule and paper. She was married to William (Bill) Davoren, environmentalist and founder of The Bay Institute of San Francisco, for more than 50 years. She is survived by her three sons and their spouses; Ben and Lisa, Nick and Evelyn, and Tony and Kristan, all of whom still reside in Marin County; and six grandchildren: Michael, James, Elliot, Rachel, Brooke, and Landon, who affectionately knew her as "Bubbles" (a tribute to her unique spirit, and her favorite beverage – champagne).

(Published August 19, 2015)

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