By Kenya Godette

ODU counseling services trailblazer Reiko Schwab, Ph.D., who worked at the University for more than 20 years, died May 5. She was 91.

Schwab dedicated almost five decades to her career in counseling services with a specialization in bereavement and grief support. After joining ODU in 1972, she held several roles in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies and in the counseling and human services programs including associate professor, program leader, director and mentor.

“As a former colleague of Reiko, her family has my sympathy,” said Nina Brown, professor and Eminent Scholar in the Department of Counseling and Human Services. “I enjoyed working with Reiko. She was a gracious, very competent person and was missed after her resignation from the university.” 

Beyond her notable contributions to ODU, Reiko was known for her enthusiasm and warmth, “I worked with Reiko for a number of years. She was a compassionate, wonderful human being and was so essential to our counseling program,” said Ed Neukrug, ODU Counseling and Human Services Department chair. “She will be missed.”

Steve Seigfried, who as a graduate student took Schwab’s group counseling class, also recalled her kindness.

“I have a beautiful memory of Reiko and her husband having a fun Christmas party and inviting us students to their warm home in Chesopean Colony,” he wrote in a memorial post.

Schwab was equally invested in the throughout the region and the state. She regularly facilitated a bereaved parents’ group in Virginia Beach and was involved in many counseling associations, including the Virginia Counselors Association, the Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision and the American Counseling Association.

Schwab was formally recognized for her work in 2018 when she was awarded the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was born on Dec. 1, 1931, in Yokohama, Japan, and moved to the United States in 1963. She was the daughter of Misao and Hide (Yamada) Matsumura. Schwab was known to enjoy painting, singing, sewing, and gardening in her free time.