Ursula Henderson, M.D.

Date of Birth

March 23, 1927

Date of Death

March 30, 2022

City of Death

Santa Barbara

As she would have put it, Dr. Ursula Henderson “popped off’ at her Valle Verde residence, one week after her 95th birthday, eased out by the very kind and caring staff there, as well as the Hospice consultants. Her beloved pup Rosie and dear kitty Cuddles were by her side.

Ursula was born in London, the only child of Scottish parents, and she spent many of her childhood years during WWII in a safer haven, Torquay, Devon. She was one of few women to graduate from London’s Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in 1950; she subsequently became board certified in Psychiatry/Neurology and immigrated to the U.S. in 1955 where she eventually became a dual citizen. She had a private psychiatric practice in Manhattan and Princeton before marrying Robert Stevenson (British/American film director) whom she had met Hollywood style aboard a QE II transatlantic crossing. They ultimately relocated from Burbank to Santa Barbara, where she cared for thousands of patients from 1977 until her retirement in 1998. After Bob’s death, she became the wife of Wallace Drew (Santa Barbara businessman) and sadly was again widowed in 2003. With both husbands, she enjoyed immensely a beautiful home and garden in Montecito and many travels around the world. She never lost her love for her homeland and dear medical school friends and, up until recently, eagerly visited England yearly.

Ursula was an elegant bon vivant, witty and clever, intellectually curious and, apropos of her profession, fascinated by human behavior. She was also feisty and assertive and enjoyed, in her outrage, writing many “letters to the editor”; as a staunch Democrat, she was determined to live long enough to see President Trump “deposed” and happily did so. Throughout her adult life, she was a generous philanthropist and especially supported United Way of S.B. County, the American Heart Association and S.B. City College Foundation. She served as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Cottage Hospital and was a member of numerous Boards, including the S.B. Mental Health Association, S.B. International Film Festival, and Ensemble Theatre.

Besides her family and friends, her two passions in life were books and animals. She was a voracious reader of both fiction and non-fiction and a frequent patron of Tecolote Book Shop (please support!). She adopted many rescue dogs and cats in her lifetime and was an avid advocate for the animal adoption organizations wherever she resided.

She is lovingly survived by several godchildren, two stepdaughters, a step niece, a step grandson and numerous good friends. In addition, she was the provider of excellent mental health care to many members of the Santa Barbara community and leaves behind many grateful patients.

Per her request, no services are planned. To honor her legacy, please condiser a donation in her name to the Santa Barbara Humane Society or United Way of Santa Barbara County.


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