It is with great sadness that we share Gurnee Counseling Center’s co-founder, Nancy Flaherty, has died. Nancy founded GCC with her dear friend Phil Kirschbaum in 1986. Nancy was a vibrant soul, passionate and loving towards all her clients as well as the clinicians she worked alongside for decades. Her legacy will live on in the hundreds of families she has supported through the years.
If you feel moved to honor her, her family asks that donations be made to Warren Township Youth Services. Please make checks out to Warren Township Youth Services and include “Nancy F.” in the memo section; mail them to 100 S. Greenleaf St., Gurnee, IL 60031.
Phil Kirschbaum has written the following beautiful tribute:
I want to take just a few minutes to tell you some things about Nancy that I know, that you may not. 10 years at WTYS, 30 years together at GCC. 1978-2018. Co-created this amazing body of work. With Dan, she designed our building, making it beautiful, private, professional and homey. Some combination! We received 20 years of rave reviews of the building and our counseling center. She picked out every piece of furniture, artwork, wallpaper, rug. We met for three hours a week for 40 years. Discussed our work, our families, our hopes and dreams.
Contract with the NFLPA
Our annual walk around the lake to revise our plans for practice.
We wrote fliers, designed posters and post-cards for marketing.
She corrected my ramblings into something that could easily be consumed by the public
We built great teams at GCC.
She Supervised and mentored dozens of young therapists.
She was an amazing resource for her church, St. Pats, providing countless hours of free consultation to the clergy and the parish schools’ principal and faculty. She provided comparable services for the faculty and students at Carmel High School.
She was a constant force in her home town, working with schools, clergy, lawyers, law enforcement, civic and business groups.
She was a constant presence at WTHS, providing help to students, faculty and administrators for decades.
We contracted with counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists.
She made me look good.
She loved her marriage to Dan, she cherished Becky and Molly, and glowed endlessly about her sisters, brothers in law, nieces and nephews.
Meanwhile, she raised two amazing kids, was a great wife, kept a great home, while building a business and being an invaluable resource in her community. No small accomplishment!
Workshops we designed and facilitated over 40 years in our community:
- keeping the romance alive
- Making marriage work
- Beginning Anew
- Building a lasting friendship
- Single parenting
- Caring for ourselves during the holidays
- Careers in counseling for High School students
- Holiday stress management for educators
- Yoga for our clients and trauma survivors
- Self Care for medical professionals
- Feeling good about me
- Stress Management
- Organizational development for the Waukegan Public Library
- Training for parents
- Training for Librarians at Warren Newport Library
- Dealing with the angry public
- Dealing with Childrens problems
- Training for cops
- Training for counselors
- Anger Management
- Improving communication for couples and families
- Keeping the love alive
- Staying together for the sake of the kids
- Secrets of a lasting Marriage
- Getting through Dark passages
- Trainings for teachers and students at WTHS, LHS, GCHS, Stevenson, LFHS, NTHS, Antioch HS, Woodland, Viking
- Trainings for staff and volunteers at Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center
- Stop, Breathe, Reflect and Choose
- Keeping our kids safe
- Balancing work and personal life
- Understanding Adolescents
- Not all families have a mom and dad
- Managing the Rat-Race
- Training volunteers at Zacharias sexual abuse center
- Self-Esteem through Mindful Choices
- Crisis Planning for schools
- Adolescent Depression
- Transition to High School
- Parenting Teenagers
- Grieving and Coping with the loss of a loved one
Now we all have the enormous challenge of moving on. Moving on does not mean letting go of, or forgetting about Nancy. It does mean developing this new relationship with Nancy. We’ll all be consulting Nancy, leaning on her newfound wisdom and strength. And she’ll be leaning on us, to keep her story alive, and look out for her precious Dan, Becky and Molly.
Anonymous Legacy, by John Schuler
The day will come
when your name is spoken
for the last time,
and all that is left
is the silent,
gently expanding ripple
of your contribution.
This will be the reason
for your existence:
of someone you touched –
someone else –
who as a result
made the critical difference
in a time beyond
This is how it works,
and it could not proceed