In Memoriam

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Ellen L. Talman ’42

Ellen was born in Baker City, Oregon. She majored in chemistry at Reed, writing her thesis with Prof. Leland H. Pence [chemistry 1939-45]. Delaying her graduate education, Ellen joined the World War II effort, serving with the U.S. Marine Corps as a noncommissioned officer in charge of a materials testing lab in North Carolina.

After the war, Ellen completed her MS and PhD degrees in biochemistry at the University of Oregon Medical School. She excelled in a profession that few women at the time considered an option. She worked in the departments of bacteriology, ophthalmology, and biochemistry at OHSU, where she also served as an instructor and assistant professor. She was an assistant scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center in the 1960s and until her retirement in 1970 worked as a research associate, biochemist, for the OHSU department of surgery.

Ellen successfully balanced being an eminent scientist in a male-dominated field with family life, caring for her parents into their old age and fulfilling the role of a second mother to her nephew, Winslow “Wink” Brooks, and his family.

A gifted gardener, she canned and kept a freezer full of her famous homegrown raspberries. Her family was frequently treated to homemade bread or pancake breakfasts with raspberry preserves, served at the yellow breakfast nook in her kitchen. In the evenings she relaxed with her crocheting, watching favorite television shows such as the Lawrence Welk Show and Washington Week on OPB. Ellen kept herself informed about developments in science and current affairs and had a lifelong interest in the early history of the United States. Her nephew survives her.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2016

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