Aug. 29, 1948-Dec. 20, 2022
Palo Alto, California
Jill Mellick, Ph.D. (Letty Jill), author, multimedia artist, Jungian psychologist and Professor Emerita, passed away December 20, 2022.
Born in Brisbane to Dr. JSD Mellick, OAM, ED, and Letty Katts, pianist and composer of iconic Australian ballads.
Jill attended Somerville House, a private school for girls, where she excelled in academics and leadership. When admitted to the University of Queensland, she aspired to cross-disciplinary studies of cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, English, French, languages and music. Those ambitions were squashed by an advisor, so she chose English Literature and Language and French. She earned a scholarship for her Honours degree (i.e. graduate degree) which took her to New Guinea, to live with the Foré and Atzera tribes.
She was invited to be Editor of “Makar”, the university’s literary magazine, and taught Creative Writing to elementary students in the summers. There she discovered her love of using multimodal ways to awaken creative expression in others.
After graduate studies, she accepted a senior teaching position at Clayfield College, where she transformed the English and French curriculae with imagination, depth of knowledge, and love of students. At 22 she wrote and published her first book on creative writing for elementary students.
In 1971 she travelled the world, visiting to over 20 countries, from Europe to the Middle East. Upon return to Brisbane, she became Head of the Arts Department at Clayfield College. Once again, she revolutionized curriculae to support students in expressing their full creative capacities.
At age 24 she became Principal of an international adult distance education program in Sydney. One of the few women in management in Australia, she supervised curriculum development for 60 commercial and technical courses, 70 instructors, and 6,500 students in the Australasian area.
In 1975 she moved to Palo Alto, California, working as a freelance textbook editor and Lecturer in English at Golden Gate University. She enrolled in a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology, completed pre- and post-doctoral internships in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University, and did field work with Pueblo Indian communities in New Mexico.
She was a half-time Full Professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (later Sofia University) with a 22-year tenure as Director of Doctoral Research designing new, cross-disciplinary research methodologies. A dream inspired her to found and direct one of the first doctoral programs studying and teaching the cross-cultural use of the arts for psycho-spiritual healing and development.
When she resigned, she was elected Professor Emerita. Her focus turned towards her therapy practice, writing and painting. She loved private practice, working with international executives, professionals and academics for 30 years.
Her lifetime interest in the role of creative expression in psycho-spiritual healing and development continued through her publications, and through her underwriting of awards and scholarships to democratize access to the expressive arts at: Sofia University, Somerville House in Australia, the Mellick Shutes Award at the South Western Association for Indian Arts and Crafts, the Letty Katts Award (underwritten along with her father) for contributions to Australian Music, and the JSD Mellick Fellowship through the State Library of Queensland, Australia.
In 2018 Jill published her ground-breaking discoveries of Carl Jung’s art materials and creative process in, The Red Book Hours. She earned the trust and support of Jung’s descendants and Foundations, and this publication is widely considered as a necessary accompaniment to The Red Book itself.
Her many other publications include The Worlds of P’otsunu, co-authored with Dr. Jeanne Shutes; The Art of Dreaming; Coming Home to Myself, co-authored with Marion Woodman; a pseudonymous novel; poetry in journals; and her contribution by invitation to, The Art of C.G. Jung and her final publication, There You Are.
A naturally private woman and raised conservatively, she was unusually open to unconventional surprises from her heart and to unique connections. She nurtured long, rich relationships with two male companions, but chose to share daily life for forty-two years with her soulmate, Dr. Jeanne Shutes of Palo Alto -- best friend, critic, muse, travel companion and co-author.
She and Jeanne traveled to over thirty countries, returning often to Kyoto, Greece, Switzerland, France, Kaua’i, Santa Fe, and Australia.
Jill weathered with dignity, dry humor and collaborative creativity, serious medical crises throughout her adulthood. Jeanne preceded her in death, during Jill’s last illness.
Jill’s travels, love of beauty, and experimentation with various mediums were constant inspiration for her landscapes and abstract art.
She was an honorary family member for many. She is survived by blood relatives, extended family, close friends on four continents, and those who carry her, her creative gifts, wisdom, love of beauty, and inspiration in their hearts and lives. Each carry the love and growth which their time with her generated and by extension, the thousands their lives touch. Her spirit lives on in the inner and outer creative lives of each.