Nancymarie Bride, a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and former president of the New Jersey Counseling Association (NJCA) and New Jersey Mental Health Counselors Association, passed away this month at the age of 74. A leader and advocate for the counseling profession, she was a pioneer in the process to establish professional licensure for counselors in the state of New Jersey in the 1990s.
Nancymarie's colleagues at Kean University and the NJCA remember her as a caring and giving professional and a great role model for new counselors. She will be missed, says J. Barry Mascari, an LPC, ACA fellow and associate professor at Kean University.
“For those who knew Nancymarie, nothing was ever too much and no matter what life’s difficulties she always had time for others,” he remembers. “She was the modern woman: mother, spouse, professional and leader.”
Nancymarie’s practice, Gateway Counseling Associates in Westfield, New Jersey, pioneered insurance reimbursement, Mascari says. She was also an adjunct professor in Kean University’s counseling program. She graduated from Keane in 1977 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in nursing at St. Louis University. In addition to being an LPC and a certified clinical mental health counselor, Nancymarie held a host of other credentials, including certified midwife. During her first career as a nurse, Nancymarie practiced and founded a women's clinic in Zambia. She also met her future husband, Heinz Wengerter, while working in Africa for the World Health Organization.
A mother to four children, Nancymarie earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University and specialized in domestic violence and women's issues, as well as crisis management. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she served as a crisis management counselor and provided counseling services for first responders working at Ground Zero.
Nancymarie was editor of the New Jersey Journal of Professional Counseling from 1992 to 1999. She also co-founded the Garden State Suicide Hotline Association and served on many ACA committees. In 2016 she received the NJCA Licensed Professional Counselor Award.
Nancymarie also shared her expertise in the pages of Counseling Today. Having worked with people affected by domestic violence — both victims and perpetrators — since the 1980s in private practice and group work, she served as a source in CT’s 2014 article on domestic violence, “Working through the hurt.”
At the time of her death, Nancymarie had battled metastatic breast cancer for five years. She is predeceased by her husband Heinz and daughter Judith.
A memorial service and mass were held for her earlier in August in New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Nancymarie’s memory to the Choices for Women program at the Counseling Center for Human Development, Inc. Mail donations to Counseling Center for Human Development, Inc., Attn.: Choices for Women Program, 201 Lincoln Ave. East, Cranford, NJ 07016 (Make checks payable to CCHD with "choices" in memo).
Leave a comment about Nancymarie’s legacy and contributions to the counseling profession below, and read more about her life in her obituary here.