Dr. Mathilda A. Catarina (“Dee”) of River Edge New Jersey passed away on November 19, 2021. Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn on January 23, 1939 to Julia and Amado Braceros. Dee was predeceased by her parents as well as her siblings Olga, Sonny and Lovey.
Dee professionally was a Doctor of Psychology, and a long-time professor at Brooklyn College where she founded the Special Baccalaureate Degree program for adults returning to school. As Director, she imbued the philosophy of multi-culturalism, tolerance & acceptance and published on the topic well before it became a focus in mainstream academia.
After retiring from Brooklyn College, she took a position as a professor at William Paterson University, and also served as a Pathways Director providing counseling services to patients and as a FEMA advisor counseling veterans with PTSD issues.
Mathilda was an academic prodigy having been accepted to Hunter High School at the age of 13 and inducted as a member into MENSA. Later, while raising her three children as a single parent, Mathilda taught public grade schools in Red Hook and Crown Heights, Brooklyn leading the early efforts & integration of the NYC Head Start program and achieved her bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and her master’s & PHD from Fordham University by attending evening classes.
Affectionately known as “MaDee” by her grandchildren Samantha, John, Jac, Maxwell and Charlotte she is also survived by her loving husband Ric and her three children Lori, Gary and Joseph; along with a myriad of loving cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and professional associates.
Dee loved owning their antique store in NYC, spending time with family in their Upstate NY home, helping people and was famous for always welcoming everyone, family & friends, new & old to Thanksgiving dinner, her favorite holiday of the year.
Dr. Dee, Breaker of Glass Ceilings, and Wonder Woman are just a few of her monikers but Mom and MaDee are the names she wore most proudly.