It is with great sadness that New Vitae Wellness and Recovery announces the passing of the original founder of New Vitae: Anne (Stegos) Mills, MSW. The story of her life mirrors the strength and compassion shared by the individuals and families participating in services at New Vitae.
Anne was born in Trieste, Italy in 1923. She arrived in America at the age of 6, entering the country through Ellis Island. Her family settled in New York, where Anne worked hard in school while adapting to a new culture. Her efforts ultimately resulted in a college degree from the City University of New York’s Hunter College with an emphasis in English.
After completing her studies, Anne was hired for a variety of employment opportunities, including organizing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, teaching at Immaculata College, and working for Catholic Charities and the Coatesville Veterans Association. Anne ultimately found her calling in the field of social work, and was the oldest student at the time to graduate with her Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981.
For many years, Anne was a pioneer in the development of residential housing for persons with behavioral health challenges. When state hospitals were closing in the early 1980’s, she was involved with writing the original regulations for licensing personal care homes to ensure protection for those who were discharged from services. Anne opened homes in lower and central Bucks County, Pennsylvania that served as models in the treatment community. By Anne’s retirement in the mid 1990’s, TriCounty Respite (the predecessor of New Vitae Wellness and Recovery) had grown to include 2 large personal care homes, an apartment program, and an outpatient clinic. Anne continued to be a valued consultant for several years and was honored by the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill for her efforts to improve behavioral healthcare in 1995. She made a difference in many people’s lives and worked diligently to instill hope in the lives of those seeking recovery services. Her legacy continues on today in New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, now run by her son Adam. Anne’s grace, kindness, and compassion for others is a model for many, and she will be remembered fondly by those who had the opportunity to meet her.
Those seeking to make a donation in Anne’s memory are asked to contact NAMI Lehigh Valley at 802 West Broad Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018.