In Memoriam

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Vera Florence Smith Jackets ’28

Vera Florence Smith Jackets ’28, September 3, 2003, in Anacortes, Washington. Vera received a BA from Reed in biology and followed her initial interest in "growing things" to become a pioneer in the field of bacteriology. At Reed she participated in the developing women’s athletic program, including as a member of the Blondines basketball team. Vera then worked as an assistant in the Reed biology department. Simultaneously she attended classes at the University of Oregon Medical School (OHSU), earning a master’s degree in 1930. In pursuit of a PhD, she attended Stanford for a year, and while there learned of a position for research in bacteriophage in Vellore, India. She took the position for two years, focusing her work on cholera and dysentery at Dr. Ida Scudder’s Hospital, a medical school for women, where she also taught physiology. She met and married her husband, an Englishman serving in India, and they had two sons, including Michael Jackets ’56. Vera taught chemistry, biology, and arithmetic at the American school for missionary children, and made several trips to the U.S. with her family before moving back to the Portland area. There she did substitute teaching prior to beginning a nine-year position as a lab assistant at the University of Oregon medical school; she retired in 1955. Vera once noted that the quest for knowledge, felt keenly during her college years, spurred her on throughout her life.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 2004

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