Cover photo for Dr. Phyllis Kay Joachim's Obituary
Dr. Phyllis Kay Joachim Profile Photo
1948 Phyllis 2023

Dr. Phyllis Kay Joachim

February 5, 1948 — March 14, 2023

Waban, Massachusetts

Dr. Phyllis Kay Joachim, PhD, age 75 of Newton, MA, died suddenly and unexpectedly at her home in Waban MA.
Phyllis grew up in Philadelphia, She was the daughter of George and Suzanne Joachim (nee Benamy). Phyllis went to the  Julia Ward Howe School and Philadelphia High School for Girls. She attended Radcliffe College and attained her BA from Harvard in Social Relations. She worked at Butabika Hospital in Uganda after graduation, then attended New York University where she earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. 

She is survived by Peter Shaw, her husband of forty-eight years, and her daughters Julia of Carthage Maine,  and Abigail of Avon, MA. Her son Eliot predeceased her.

Phyllis had a long and fruitful career as a clinical psychologist. She was a partner in Braintree Family Resources group in Braintree and also had a private practice in Wellesley. She was a practitioner of family therapy, believing that the family context of her patients was critical to understanding them and delivering the most appropriate therapy. After concluding her practice in Braintree and Wellesley, she continued a small practice from her home.

Her parents were of Jewish ancestry but neither was observant. Though Phyllis never felt connected to organized Jewish religion, as a child she learned some Jewish traditions from her maternal grandparents and came to enjoy cultural aspects, especially the traditional foods and the Seder. Phyllis honored these traditions as an adult, sharing them with family and friends.

Phyllis was a long-time and devoted member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills. She served on many committees of the church, including numerous internship committees where she assisted in guiding interns to the UU Ministry. She loved participating in cooking for a food pantry in Waltham as part of church activities. The iconic church rummage sale was a favorite; it was always her responsibility to ensure supplies and equipment so the sale could perform as brilliantly as it has. 

She was connoisseur of food and a superb cook. The refrigerator was always filled with the best quality produce. On those rare occasions when things ran low, she was expert at creating gourmet meals out of nothing. She was also an accomplished indoor  gardener, keeping the house greenery fresh and blooming year-round. 

Phyllis was a devotee of crossword puzzles, Scrabble, and any and all word games, especially those in the New York Times and New Yorker. She would quietly announce ”genius” each time she mastered a puzzle (a daily occurrence). She had superb taste in clothes and decoration. She had a distinctive aesthetic sense such that everything fit together in a subtle and beautiful way. 

What a smart, witty, gentle and compassionate  soul. A wonderful wife and mother.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Phyllis for her memorial service on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 1:00 pm in the Wellesley Hills Unitarian Universalist Church, 309 Washington Street, Wellesley Hills, MA.  Burial in Groton Cemetery, Groton, MA will be private.

The memorial service will be live-streamed via Zoom, and will be viewable by downloading the Zoom app and accessing the link below:

Livestream Link:

Contributions are suggested to the Julia Ward Howe School which may be made at the following website:

Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap Street, Concord, MA 01742  978-369-3388



Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 13, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Wellesley Hills Unitarian Universalist Church

309 Washington Street, Wellesley Hills, MA

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