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Barbara Chalfant Meyer (June 2, 1927 – February 12, 2010)


Last updated 3/4/2010 at Noon

Barb passed away at the home of her son in Edmonds WA on February 12, 2010 from metastatic breast cancer. She was 82 years old.

Barb spent the early 1950s working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, where she married the French concert pianist Alain Bernheim. Following her divorce, she returned to the U.S. in 1957 and continued a career as a microbiologist with the Division of Biologic Standards (DBS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda MD, and later with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 1961, as a researcher and French translator, Barb joined a medical team led by Dr. Harry (Hank) M. Meyer, Jr., conducting clinical trials of measles vaccine in eight West African countries. Over the course of three years, operating from Ouagadougou, Upper Volta, the team vaccinated almost one million children.

In 1966, Barb married Hank, an immunologist with the U. S. Public Health Service and co-developer of the first safe and effective rubella vaccine. Barb and Hank lived on a farm in Loudoun County, VA, where they raised Tennessee Walking Horses and enjoyed country life. After retirement, they moved to San Juan Island to live in a home they designed overlooking Haro Strait, ideal for observing eagles, orcas, otters and sunsets. Hank died in 2001.

Barb was an avid reader in French and English and expert crossword ‘puzzler,’ and often sailed the Chesapeake Bay and Caribbean Sea with family and friends. She was a great admirer of all living things.

Barb was born in Pitman NJ, the daughter of Dr. Harry and Elva Chalfant, and was raised in Kennett Square PA. She was a graduate of Gettysburg College (BS) and of Columbia University (MS). Survivors include her son, Stephen Bernheim of Edmonds WA, stepchildren Harry M. Meyer, III of Bellbrook OH, Dr. Cathy Dundon of Nashville TN, and Dave Meyer of McLean VA, and five grandchildren.

The family suggests donations to Memorial Gifts at Providence Hospice, 2731 Wetmore Ave. #500, Everett WA 98201.


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