Deceased November 16, 2012

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25th Reunion Book Entry

In Memory

Henry deForest “Harry” Webster, a retired neuroscientist and my father, died in Cockeysville, Md., on Nov. 16, 2012.

 Born in New York City on April 22, 1927, Harry finished Scarsdale (N.Y.) High School and enrolled at Amherst in early 1944. He enlisted in the navy in 1945. Returning to Amherst in 1946, Harry joined the glee club and the ski team. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1948.

Harry received a Plimpton Fellowship from Amherst and attended Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1952. After teaching at Harvard and the University of Miami medical schools and doing research in neurology at affiliated hospitals, Harry became chief of the section on cellular neuropathology at the National Institutes of Health in 1969. He was appointed chief of the laboratory of experimental neuropathology in 1984. In 1997 he became a scientist emeritus.

The nervous system and how its malfunctioning causes various diseases was Harry’s area of research. His work advanced knowledge of the causes and spread of multiple sclerosis and the development of potential means of treating it. He was also a pioneer in developing and using electron microscopic methods to study normal and diseased cells of the nervous system.

Harry authored or co-authored many articles and several books, including three editions of the Fine Structure of the Nervous System, a reference work in the field. He received numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. Public Health Service’s Superior Service Award in 1977, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Senior U.S. Scientist Award to do research in Germany and the American Association of Neuropathologists’ Meritorious Contributions to Neuropathology Award in 2001.

Harry was devoted to Amherst and contributed his time and insights to its neuroscience program. In December 2011, he donated the William Blake painting The Raising of Jairus’s Daughter to the Mead Art Museum.

Harry’s wife of more than 60 years, Marion, died in February 2012. Their survivors include five children and six grandchildren.

Christopher W. Webster ’75

Submitted by Nicole C. Yang on Tuesday, 11/12/2013, at 2:36 PM
25th Reunion


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Our  fiftieth! How  time  flies  and  how  lucky  I have  been  with family, career, and other  activities. Marion  and  I were  married  in 1951  and  now  have five  children  and five  grandchildren,  After  Amherst,  medical  school  and  neurology   training, did  full time  neuroscience  research   (Harvard,  University   of  Miami,   National   Institutes   of Health)  until  my retirement early  last  year.  Experiments, like mountain-climbing, and photography   are  fun.  To  participate in a discovery once  in a while  is like  reaching  a summit,  carving  some  great  turns,  or  making  a  print  that  deserves   a  frame. I have done  enough  of  each  to  recognize   outstanding   performance,  appreciate  my  teachers (many of them students)  and be very grateful  for a chance  to participate.

How  was  this  achieved?   Terrific parents,  many educational opportunities, an outstanding wife, and excellent health provided  a great  start  and  lots of help along the  way.  I am  very  thankful  for  all four.  In March  I retired  as Chief of the Laboratory of Experimental Neuropathology in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke   and  will  continue   with  neuroscience research    part-time   (especially,   the   use   of growth    factors    to   treat   multiple    sclerosis  patients).    Other priorities are family,  sports, travelling, and making photographs.