In Memoriam

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Karen M. Hamburger Fields ’63

Karen M. Hamburger Fields ’63, April 29, 2007, at home in Boyds, Maryland, from ovarian cancer. Karen received a BA from Reed in biology, and married Gordon Fields ’62 after graduation. Both attended the University of Oregon, where Karen received an MEd in 1966, prior to teaching high school biology, and Gordon completed an LLB. The couple moved to Arlington, Virginia, where Karen taught in the Head Start program and did research for a defense department contractor on the teratogenic effects of Agent Orange. She left the position to raise her children. In the mid-’80s, she joined a pathology lab at the Uniformed Services Medical School in Bethesda, Maryland, to study interferon and its role in regulating cell growth. In 1998, she took a position with the AIDS research lab at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, where she studied macrophage and lymphocytic HIV infections until retirement in 2006. She was passionate about nutrition, and enjoyed hiking vacations, especially in Acadia National Park in Maine. The couple were founding members in 1978 of an unaffiliated and nondogmatic Jewish havura in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. For 28 years, she organized the congregation's annual retreat in West Virginia. “In a world full of self-important and judgmental people, Karen was quiet and unassuming and nonjudgmental, and there was no one who knew her who did not like her,” notes Gordon. Survivors include Gordon; a daughter and son, Brian Fields ’99; and two grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: November 2007

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