In Memoriam: Naomi Rucker (1954-2024)

May 24, 2024

Naomi Rucker

Dr. Naomi Gabrella Rucker, a loving and devoted mother and grandmother who was an accomplished psychologist and psychoanalyst, died from cancer on April 4, 2024, in Savannah, Georgia. She was 70.

Naomi was born in New York City on January 6, 1954, to James Bernard “Bunny” Rucker and Helen Muenich. She spent most of her childhood in East Orange, New Jersey, where her father, a disabled veteran who fought with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain and later served in the Army in World War II, worked as chief librarian of the public library and her mother as a ballet dancer and physician’s office manager.

A voracious reader and star student, Naomi received a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis from Adelphi University. She spent five decades in private practice as a psychologist and psychoanalyst, first in New York City, then in San Diego and, for the past 27 years, in Savannah. She also has taught psychoanalytic theory and clinical technique at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels.

Naomi was a lifelong student of the human condition, examining people’s connections with one another and the influences of their sociocultural environments. She wrote and presented numerous clinical and theoretical papers in psychoanalysis. She also co-authored two books, Subject Relations, published in 1998, and The Color Human, a memoir published in 2023.

Naomi was known for her fierce independence raising two children alone, generosity and loyalty to friends, as well as her passion for riding horses, playing piano, studying French and rescuing dogs. She is survived by her son, Philip, a journalist in Washington, D.C.; her daughter, Clara, a geologist in Bloomingdale, Georgia; and her grandson, Lee.

A memorial service will be held on May 4 at 2 p.m. at Brockington Hall at 213 E. Hall Street, Savannah, GA, 31401. In lieu of giving flowers, the family asks that those who are able consider making a donation to Hospice Savannah or to the Humane Society for Greater Savannah.