November 17, 1941 ~ May 3, 2019

Born in: Brooklyn, NY
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Dr. Jim DeLeo died peacefully at his home surrounded by family on Friday May 3rd. It was a beautiful Spring day. He was born on November 17, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York to Sicilian Italians, James and Frances DeLeo, who along with his brother Joe predeceased him.

While living in Asheville these last 19 years Jim was in private practice as a clinical and consulting psychologist. He was on the senior medical staff at Mission Hospital, was a popular teacher at UNC-A’s  College for Seniors and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mountain Area Child and Family Center.

Throughout his adulthood, Dr. DeLeo was active in research, education, and clinical practice including seeing patients, giving presentations to the general public, teaching medical and graduate students, and supervising mental health professionals.  He was an emeritus professor of clinical psychology and humanities from the California School of Professional Psychology and a fellow of the National Academy of Practice. In 2001 the Academy named him a Distinguished Practitioner.

His academic work was an interdisciplinary effort relating philosophy, humanities, and psychology. His research was first published in 1976 in The New England Journal of Medicine and extended through his last work contained in a chapter in the book Martin Buber and the Human Sciences published by the State University of New York Press. In addition to his professional publications, he was the technical reviewer/editor for the 1999 edition of The Idiots Guide to Psychology.

Jim attended high school at a Jesuit seminary in Batavia, Illinois. Upon returning to New York, he worked as a mail boy for Equitable Life Assurance Company and studied at Fordham and the New School for Social Research in the evenings. At the same time he studied at the Actors Studio and starred in plays both on and off Broadway. In 1961 he received a scholarship to Hofstra University in New York where he majored in psychology. Upon his graduation in 1964, he was commissioned a reserve officer in the US Army. From 1965 until 1967 he served on active duty as a battalion intelligence officer stationed in Berlin, participating in reconnaissance operations during the war in Vietnam.

Upon completion of active duty, he returned with his family to New York and became Director of Personnel at Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute and Cancer Center.

In 1971 he moved to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina where he was Director of Training and Organizational Development assisting Duke to comply with Affirmative Action. 1973 he moved to San Diego, California to complete his Ph.D. in clinical psychology. During that time he was also the Founding President of the San Diego Jung Society and a co-founder of the Institute for Existential dialogical Psychotherapy.

Dr. DeLeo is survived by his beloved wife, Dr. Barbara DeLeo, his daughter Karen Beth and husband Michael Gibson, his step-children Jonathan Rice and wife Myra, and Rebecca Rampa and husband Paul. He also leaves behind his Grandchildren whom he adored, Maxwell Gibson, Gracie Rampa and Alora Rice. Jim also leaves two sisters, Mary Anne Miller and husband Graham as well as Laurie Gregory and husband Bob.

Jim and Barbara were fortunate to travel extensively around the world. Jim writes “These are the facts which cannot meaningfully express the joys, the love, the heart-rendering moments of a long well lived life. So all that can be stated here is thanks, gratitude and love to my wife, my three children, my grandson, granddaughters, my sisters, and my friends.”

The family wishes to thank both Donna and CarePartners Hospice for their loving care.

A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, May 15 in the Chapel of Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian, followed by a Celebration of Life Reception at the Biltmore Forest Country Club, of which Jim was a member.


Memorial Service: May 15, 2019 2:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


Room: Chapel

Reception: May 15, 2019 3:30 pm

Biltmore Forest Country Club
31 Stuyvesant Road
Asheville, NC 28803

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  1. Barbara, the world and particularly Asheville has lost a giant mind, profound soul and gentle spirit. Blessings to you and all of those that he loved and inspired.

  2. Jim was so dear to our family and more than a close friend and neighbor. He guided us through difficult times and lifted us up with humor and enlightenment. The wonderful memories of the past 19 years will remain with us forever.

  3. Jim was a beloved teacher and a great friend to my husband, Rex, who loved lunches with Jim that could last for hours as they discussed psychology, cosmology, physics, literature and more. These two friends enjoyed teaching together as much as their students enjoyed learning with them.

  4. Dear Jim, May God and all of His Angels, along with all of your loved ones who are waiting to receive you on the other side, welcome you with great Joy into the Kingdom of Love. Well done!
    With my love and deepest sympathy to Barbara, children, grandchildren, and the whole family. You will be greatly missed.

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