Posted on: November 28, 2023
Dr. Randolph (“Randy”) Catlin, Jr. died peacefully on November 9, 2023, at Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln, Mass. He was a man of courage and intellect, who led a life characterized by great compassion and genuine humility.
Randy was born to Hannah (White) and Randolph Catlin on November 17, 1925, in New York City. He and his beloved brother, Avery White Catlin (1924-2011), spent their early childhood in Tuxedo Park, NY, but considered the family farm in Charlottesville, Va., their true home. Randy attended St. Paul’s School (Concord, NH) and the University of Virginia, for both college and medical school, graduating in 1952.
After completing a residency in neurosurgery at New York City Hospital, he joined the USAF and was called into service as a flight surgeon, running a MASH unit during the Korean War. Randy treasured his years in the Air Force (1953-1961), during which he served bravely and formed lifelong bonds. He also developed an abiding love of airplanes – becoming a pilot and owning a plane – and a talent for photography, a hobby in which he engaged for most of his life.
In 1959, Randy married his wife, Marian Woolston Catlin (1931-2022), whom he met while completing his degree in Public Health at Harvard University. The couple moved to England, where Randy ran a Strategic Air Command hospital until 1961, when he left the USAF and returned to Cambridge, Mass. After a second residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, Randy joined the Harvard University Health Service in 1965. He worked there for 40 years, becoming chief of the mental health service in 1983. He continued to see private patients for more than a decade after his retirement from Harvard in 1995. Randy specialized in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and suicidality, and helped countless Harvard students and others through challenging times.
Randy was an extraordinarily graceful, humble man who treated everyone whom he encountered with respect and kindness. He was highly disciplined – continuing to exercise until the final weeks of his life – but never demanding of others.
Randy was deeply curious about why people thought and felt as they did. He was always ready with a turn of phrase or a Cole Porter lyric that would make others relax and smile. He loved to read, play the piano (resuming lessons at the age of 83), and listen to music of all sorts. More than anything, Randy adored time with family. He was devoted to his wife and children and their families. Marian – who was also a psychiatrist – and Randy were dedicated to making their home and garden a beautiful, welcoming place and they spent countless hours engaged in that endeavor together. Randy was passionate in his love for dogs, especially Labradors, and would stop whatever he was doing to pat a dog who came anywhere near him.
Randy is survived by his three children and their spouses, Laura and Marc Rogers (Ipswich, Mass.), Jennifer and Joshua Davis (Wellesley, Mass.), and Randy and Laura Catlin (Holliston, Mass.), and his grandchildren and step-grandchildren: Hannah Catlin, Molly Catlin, Noah Rogers, Nathaniel Rogers, Katherine Tucker, Andrew Tucker, Emerson Davis, and Malcolm Davis. He is also survived by his nephews, nieces, and their families.