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Linda Elaine Fisher

Linda Elaine Fisher, associate professor of biology and microbiology and chair of the biology discipline at U-M–Dearborn, died at the emergency room at Garden City Hospital Aug. 13. She was 54.

Fisher’s research focused on virology and microbiology with a special interest in emerging infectious diseases, including measles, West Nile Virus and HIV. She was a national leader in the area of science education. She lectured to professional groups on how to improve science teaching at the secondary and college levels and on ways to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in science.

“Her teaching was characterized by deep concern for students’ learning and for their ability to write,” says physics Prof. Paul W. Zitzewitz, chairman of the Department of Natural Sciences.

“She was the kind of colleague with whom you could feel comfortable in discussing both professional and personal issues, and for that reason, she had many close friends across campus,” he says. “Even though she had health problems over the past few years, she remained cheerful and positive, and devoted to the University.”

Fisher earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and German at the University of Kansas in 1969 and her doctoral degree in microbiology there in 1974. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in New Jersey and at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine before joining the U-M–Dearborn faculty as assistant professor of biology in 1978.

She was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1984. Fisher also served as a visiting scientist at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and as a visiting professor at Spelman College in Atlanta.

Fisher was active in the American Society for Microbiology at the local and national levels. In 2001, she received a two-year appointment in the Waksman Foundation for Microbiology lecturers program, which provides speakers for scientific meetings.

For her service to women’s issues on campus and in the community, Fisher was awarded the U-M–Dearborn Susan B. Anthony Award in 1988. She also was recognized for her mentoring activities by an award from the Detroit chapter of the Association for Women in Science.

Fisher served on numerous campus committees, including the chancellor search committee in 1999-2000, the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters executive committee, the Faculty Senate, the disability resources advisory committee and a diversity task force.

In addition to her teaching and research, Fisher was advisor to the biological students’ honor society, Tri-Beta, and volunteered several summers as an instructor in a program to introduce girls to the world of science. The program, called “Labcoats and Microscopes,” was coordinated with the Michigan Metro Girl Scout Council.

Fisher was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

She is survived by her husband, Louis, an architect, and her 14-year-old son, Jason. A memorial service was held for Fisher Aug. 24. Contributions can be made to U-M–Dearborn to support students in the sciences. Checks can be sent to the Office of Institutional Advancement, Room 1040 Administration Building, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, Mich. 48128.

—Submitted by Terry Gallagher, U-M–Dearborn

Nathalie Drews

Nathalie Drews, an associate professor emerita of social work who was known for her research on death and dying, died Aug. 26. She was 76.

Drews received her master’s degree from the School of Social Work in 1951. After graduation, she worked for the city of Detroit Department of Public Welfare and provided social services in Europe for the American Red Cross, which allowed her to satisfy her love of travel.

She joined the staff at U-M’s University Hospital in 1956 and joined the School of Social Work as an assistant professor shortly thereafter. She was a distinguished and well-loved teacher, mentor to many students, founding member of the Turner Geriatric Services Advisory Committee, research scientist at the Institute of Gerontology and assistant dean for student services at the School of Social Work.

Drews retired in 1992. She is best known for her pioneering research in the areas of death and dying, and will be remembered for her devotion to students and years of dedication to the school.

A funeral was held on Aug. 30, with interment in Holland, Mich. Drews is survived by friend Leona Jacobs, brother and sister-in-law John and Lily Drews, and several nieces and nephews.

—Submitted by the School of Social Work

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