In Memoriam

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Elissa Metterhausen Gronke, Staff

Elissa Metterhausen Gronke, June 30, 2012, in Milwaukie, Oregon. Born in Chicago, and a graduate in biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Lisa was a woman ahead of her time, “pursuing a career in the era when women were expected to stay at home and care for the family while their husbands supported them.” Her work as a biochemist helped finance the undergraduate education of her four children, Deborah, Edward P. Gronke ’82, Paul Gronke [political science 2001–], and Thomas. The family moved from Chicago to Houston, Texas, where Lisa worked and studied at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. She also took up the hobby of bird watching and carried this interest to a new home in New York and finally to the Portland area—“a birdwatcher’s paradise,” she reported. Lisa served as a faculty assistant for Reed’s physics department in 1977–78, and was instrumental in bringing David Griffiths [1978–2009], emeritus professor of physics, to the college. In 1979, she began working with Janice Robinsons Stevens ’44 at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Lisa did research in the neurology department and in the pediatric metabolic lab at OHSU in the ’80s. Her work at OHSU shifted from research to computer science and to support for the lab’s data collection. She took programming classes and also worked on computer network bulletin boards through the late ’90s in Portland. “She was unusual in this world of geeks as a female over 50, and was known as ‘Grandma Nerd.’” Skilled also in the kitchen, Lisa’s cooking skills were based on her scientific training: “reducing the art of pies to a system of careful measurements and tests, producing pie crusts still fondly remembered by her children.” Lisa was a vital part of the life of her close-knit family. “Her like doesn’t come along very often.” Survivors include her husband, Edward P. Sr.; four children; nine grandchildren; and her brother.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2013

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