C. Glenn Cambor, M.D., 92, died peacefully, at home, on Saturday, October 31, 2020. He was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who practiced in Houston for forty-eight years.
Glenn Cambor was born in Denver, Colorado on December 28,1927, the only child of Louis V. Cambor and Lillian Bartholomew Cambor. His father immigrated to the United States from Greece when he was eighteen and encouraged family members to follow him, where they developed several thriving restaurants in both Denver and Laramie, Wyoming. As the only male child in a large extended Greek family, Glenn was doted on by his “girl cousins” with whom he spent many happy summers in Laramie. A son of the West, he became an avid skier, maneuvering the Aspen slopes when the then- tiny town was just building its first chair lift. From the time he was a boy, Glenn loved the meditative calm of fly-fishing and spent some of the happiest times in his life with his children on the streams and creeks of Colorado, New Mexico and the Catskills.
Both his parents were spiritual “seekers,” young people looking beyond the traditions of established religious practice for truths about the self and the human spirit. They met in a phrenology class, and together studied theosophy, the works of Rudolf Steiner and the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson. They shared their open-minded sense of wonder and curiosity about the world with their beloved son.
Glenn began college at the University of Colorado in Boulder with a plan to study engineering, but, after three semesters, he accepted a place at the US Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, which had a wonderful liberal arts curriculum, and which he credited with awakening in him an abiding love of music, (especially jazz) art, and literature, and which caused him to reconsider what he wanted to do with his life. By the time he returned to Boulder to finish his degree, he had applied to the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver. While in medical school, his curiosity about the human psyche as well as the human body, led him to conclude that the medical specialty of psychiatry was a natural fit.
Glenn trained in psychiatry and psychoanalysis at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, widely considered to be among the best psychiatry programs in the country. His residency was interrupted when he served in the Army Medical Corp as a captain stationed in Germany, and he used his free time there with his first wife, Rosemary, to see as much of Europe (and eat in as many wonderful restaurants) as he could. When he returned to Pittsburgh, Glenn developed a thriving medical practice, and over time he and a few colleagues began to explore new fields of thinking in the psychiatric world. He studied with Murray Bowen in Washington D.C. and began to incorporate Bowen’s ground breaking work in family systems theory into his practice. British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion and his colleagues at the Tavistock Institute in London and the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems in Washington were developing new understandings of how individuals behave in groups, and Glenn began a years- long association with the A. K .Rice Institute and used the insights gained there in his clinical work
In 1972 Glenn relocated to Houston to become a training analyst in the newly -formed Houston- Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute, where he taught for many years and supervised psychoanalytic candidates with their cases. In his long career in Houston, Glenn saw individuals, couples, groups, and all kinds of families, and enjoyed his wonderful, diverse practice. He was also a respected and beloved teacher and supervisor to many other therapists, a legacy that has left a major mark on the larger mental health community in Houston.
He loved opera, jazz, classical music, theater, politics, history, and philosophy and was a voracious reader. In the early 1980s a group of writers began to move to Houston with the goal of establishing a Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. The writer Donald Barthleme became Glenn’s close friend, and at his behest, Glenn joined a small group of civic leaders to form Inprint, a nonprofit established in 1983 to support the literary arts in Houston,and to give financial support to graduate students who came to study. It gave Glenn great pleasure to watch Inprint grow and bring so many gifted writers to the city. And he was deeply touched when, in 1991, an anonymous donor made a generous gift to Inprint in Glenn’s honor, which has endowed more than three hundred C. Glenn Cambor Fellowships at the University of Houston since 1992.
Glenn was a consummate friend to many. With his wife, Kathy, he was always eager to gather people at their home for good food and wine, conversation and celebration. Wedding parties, book launches, dinners for visiting writers, simple Sunday suppers--Glenn loved to feed his friends and family, and he adored and was delighted by his children and grandchildren.
Glenn’s inquiring mind made him eager to learn as much as he could in his quest to better understand his patients and himself. His long life, both personally and professionally, was a joyful celebration of the human spirit. He believed unflaggingly that all human beings have an extraordinary capacity to grow and change and thrive.
Glenn is survived by his wife of 48 years, Kathy (Kathleen), his children, Roger, Carolyn, Stephen (Wendy), Kate (Justin Gullingsrud) and Peter (Chrissy), his grandchildren Elizabeth, Spencer, Wentworth, Charlotte, Beatrice and Ingrid and his cousins, Denise Harvill, and Carol Morey.
Glenn’s family is eager to bring the community together to honor and celebrate him and look forward to a time in the early spring, when, with luck, the COVID-19 crisis will have abated.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to MD Anderson Cancer Center or to any charity of your choice.
MD Anderson Cancer Center, Development Office
6900 Fannin Street, Houston TX 77030