This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Barry Sherr, 77 years old, born on March 9, 1944, and passed away on May 13, 2021. We will remember him forever.
May 13
In this year from his passing, I am remembering Barry and his legacy. Ev, Aaron, and Jared you are also on my thoughts.
May 13
May 13
It has been two years now since he has gone, but i"ll always treasure the wonderful years we had together.
May 13
May 13
We miss him, Ev... as we all know you do. I hope you have a peaceful day and find solace in all the memories.
March 9
March 9
It's nice to be reminded of Barry's birthday... peace to you Ev...and to Barry as well. I still love that photo of him reclining in a field of poppies. It seems so fitting.
May 13, 2022
May 13, 2022
It has been a year already. Hard to fathom. In Jewish tradition I will light a Yarhzeit candle in his memory. Never forgotten.
March 9, 2022
March 9, 2022
Barry's birthday today. First birthday without him. Remembering him always.
December 5, 2021
December 5, 2021
My fondest memories of Barry were from Sapelo where we shared time as graduate students. His cubicle was next to mine. We used each other as sounding boards for science, life and everything in between. A process-oriented approach to microbial ecology dominated our science, and we valued each other's perspectives and ideas.  We were both left much to our own on the island. Barry's critical mind and willingness to engage made his presence so important to me. I'm sorry we largely lost touch once we lived on opposite coasts.
December 2, 2021
December 2, 2021
I just learned of Barry's passing. What a loss for plankton ecology and humanity. Barry was such an amazing, kind and warm person, outstanding and generous scientist. I remember my first interaction with him (he had to leave suddently because there were termite issues at his house) and the last (a very generous explanation of his thoughts on proteorhodopsin and research ideas) and the many times in between. Barry is leaving a true legacy and will be sorely missed.
October 13, 2021
October 13, 2021
So sorry to hear of Barry's passing today. I was in grad school with him from 1972 to 74 and enjoyed knowing him. We would all get together on Friday nights to play basketball, then adjourn to someone's home for a good time. He had a great sense of humor and we all had a great time together.
August 21, 2021
August 21, 2021
I enjoyed teaching with both Ev and Barry Sherr at CEOAS prior to my departure to take a position as the Executive Secretary of PICES in Sidney, Canada. I have recently retired from PICES and am currently living in the Eugene area. Evelyn and Barry were wonderful teachers and good friends. I only today learned that Barry had passed away in May 2021. Barry was a wonderful character and he will be sorely missed by his friends and family. 
June 1, 2021
June 1, 2021
I just learned yesterday the sad news about Barry.  Such a fascinating life and an unusual route from New York to Oregon via Kansas and Sapelo Island, a man to be remembered and cherished.
May 31, 2021
May 31, 2021
In the summer of 1987 I attended the ASLO meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. The University was my alma mater since I had graduated in 1981. I met Tom Berman and I commented that I was going to Sapelo Island for a sabbatical. His reaction was certainly peculiar. He said “It is a strange place” and he repeated this sentence several times not being able to add anything else. So, when I moved to Georgia I was full of expectations. My wife Cristina stayed at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in Athens, and borrowing a Wolksvagen from a friend I drove towards the coast. My plan was to learn microautoradiography from Bob Fallon. But he had just left Sapelo. So, I was welcomed by Steve Newell and the Sherr’s. In effect, Sapelo was a strange place. The fauna inside my apartment was as rich and diverse as outside. In particular, every evening I had a crusade against the palmetto bugs. I became very skillful at hitting them with a broom. I would also spry the door and window panes with insecticide. The next morning I would collect a crop of Palmeto bug corpses all over the apartment.

Well, I had to teach myself microautoradigraphy. But Steve and the Sherr’s were fundamental in my stay being fruitful. Barry appeared pretty soon in my office proposing a collaboration. He and Ev would measure protist feeding on bacteria using their recently developed epifluorescence technique and I could measure bacterial production with thymidine so we could compare both. Of course, being alone in an island where the only possible entertainment was to torture the alligators (Barry said), this collaboration was a most welcome suggestion. It was a lot of fun to share samplings around the island, experiments and discussions.

Then, my wife Cristina came to the island for the last month of my stay. Our relationship with the Sherr’s deepened. It was warm and interesting. Barry had a special sense of humor, full of irony, that both Cristina and I enjoyed thoroughly. He had an apparently quite critical and controversial attitude, but actually he was endearing. Our conversations were always interesting. None of the politically correct garbage. We talked about science and about Israel, about Sapelo and Spain. There was always a stimulating comment, an original point of view, something to ponder more carefully. In short, if our stay in Sapelo was a success, both scientifically and in a human sense, it was in a great proportion due to Barry an Ev.

We saw each other more times, usually at meetings, but the intense relationship of those months unfortunately did not have another chance. Through the years I have always admired the relationship between Ev and Barry. I believe they were the epitome of what a human couple team means. Cristina and I have tried to follow their example in our relationship all these years. So, given that we all have to die, doing so after a life full of professional achievements and doing so with your life partner at your side, I think is the kind of death I would like to have. Barry, rest in peace.
May 31, 2021
May 31, 2021
This is a great lost. Barry’s sense of humor and thoughtful comments are unique characteristics to remind. My time at Sapelo and Corvallis was inspiring and solidly built my scientific training. I am very thankful and he will always warmly remain in my mind.
May 31, 2021
May 31, 2021
As one of few of Barry's offspring, scientifically (and philosophically) speaking I will miss him, and be forever grateful for his kindness and guidance. Moving from Brazil at 22 in a pre-internet age I was received by Barry (and Ev) almost as a son, and through my entire time in Corvallis and layer I always felt they were looking after me. I will always remember Barry by his good humor, his enormous heart and generosity and his integrity. I owe much of how I am both as a person and a scientist, and I hope I made him proud.
May 22, 2021
May 22, 2021

Thank you so much for all the interesting and revealing stories about Barry and your life with him---his growing up in New York, college in Kansas, interesting times spent on Sapelo Island and in Israel and people I have also crossed paths with, Marcelino Suzuki for example and Igor Melnikov. I recall reading a paper you both had written about stable isotopes when I was a graduate student in the 1980s, so it was quite meaningful to me to have the chance to work with you professionally 20 years later during the Shelf-Basin Interactions program in the Arctic. I recall at the time we didn't know for sure what we would be able to do with so many scientists aboard the then-new icebreaker Healy. It was only through the efforts of everyone involved including you and Barry and the Coast Guard that so much was accomplished in that program and also the Bering Sea Project in which we all participated. These programs remain excellent examples of scientists working together to get at the serious problems we face with climate change in the Arctic. Thank you again and may peace be with you at this time when we remember Barry's impact and life.
May 21, 2021
May 21, 2021
We will miss Barry and always remember his humor. He looked at things deeply and thoughtfully. He was a careful and perceptive scientist whose insights had a great value. 
May 20, 2021
May 20, 2021

I am thinking about you and sending love.

Among my treasured memories are the times spent with you and Barry, especially the years on Sapelo. The antics, fellowship, trips-so many wonderful times!

Peace to you and the boys in this difficult time....

Lorene Townsend Howard
May 19, 2021
May 19, 2021
Yes, Barry... you will be forever missed. Neither you nor Ev will be forgotten. You created a marvelous life together personally and professionally. What you accomplished with family, friends and science lives on. Peace.

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Recent Tributes
May 13
In this year from his passing, I am remembering Barry and his legacy. Ev, Aaron, and Jared you are also on my thoughts.
May 13
May 13
It has been two years now since he has gone, but i"ll always treasure the wonderful years we had together.
May 13
May 13
We miss him, Ev... as we all know you do. I hope you have a peaceful day and find solace in all the memories.
His Life

Growing up in New York City 1944 - 1961

Barry was born and grew up in New York City. His parents, Saul and Miriam, ran a mom-and-pop store in Greenwich Village that sold all sorts of hardware and housewares. Most of his ancestors had emigrated from Ukraine during the time of Russian programs on Jewish settlements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Sherr’s last name was originally multi-syllabic, but had been shortened to Sherr when the immigrants came through Ellis Island. Barry remembered an old relative who had served briefly in the Tsar’s army before emigrating.The man had personal stories about the pogroms.

Barry’s dad Saul was a tough, no nonsense guy. During World War II, his dad worked building Liberty Ships in New York shipyards. His dad said that one of his co-workers was a Nazi sympathizer. When an opportunity arose, Saul, working on a ship’s superstructure, managed to drop a heavy wrench on top of that worker’s head and 'accidently' killed him. When Barry was a young boy, a car came too close to him when he and his dad were starting to cross the street. Barry’s dad was incensed and dragged the car’s driver right out through the car's window to give him what for, which mightily impressed Barry. Another time, at the family dinner one night, Barry was giving his mom grief, which his dad didn’t appreciate. Saul threw a fork at Barry so hard it stuck into his stomach, which shut Barry up.

Barry also delighted in participating in getting the teacher’s goat in school.One teacher in particular was really dotty. One day all the students starting inching their desks up toward the front of the classroom when the teacher wasn’t looking.By the end of the period, all the desks were closely surrounding the teacher’s, which drove her nuts.

Both of Barry’s parents smoked, as did most people in the 1940’s and 50’s. Smoking was cool. Barry started sneaking cigarette butts and cigarettes from his folks as a pre-teenager, and kept up the habit until we had our kids in the early 1980’s.

While Barry was growing up, his family lived in a small apartment on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and commuted to work at their store six days a week via subway. They hired a housekeeper to look after Barry in the afternoon after school and cook him dinner. Later Barry was a latch-key kid and said he liked to watch Perry Mason on TV to keep himself company. Another resident of the apartment building was the family of Penny Marshall, who went on to be a noted TV star. Penny’s mom ran a dance studio in the building, and Barry took dancing lessons there along with Penny. The Reiner family lived in a nearby apartment building; Barry remembers that Carl Reiner was a bit of an asshole to the kids in the neighborhood. A fond memory of that time was a local candy and soda shop, where Barry would get chocolate truffles and egg cream sodas. Barry also became a Boy Scout in an all Jewish unit for a brief time.

Although his parents weren’t very religious, his grandparents were, so when Barry was approaching his 13th birthday, he was enrolled in a program to get him ready for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony. He said the teacher was boring and the students cut up a lot. But he learned enough Hebrew to recite the Torah passage specific to his birthday. His parents had a gala celebration after his performance in the synagogue, with a feast for family and friends. One of the photos showed Saul sharing a cigar with his son, though Barry said his dad wouldn’t let him take a puff.

Barry took advantage of the great education of New York City schools, the Museum of Natural History, and youth programs like free youth symphonies held in Central Park. He went to DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, named for a 19th century New York City mayor and sixth governor of the state. Barry was involved in the drama club in the high school, and played a bit part in their production of The Importance of Being Ernest.

In the summer, his folks rented a house on Coney Island for a couple of months to escape the city heat. Barry loved to play in the ocean. While his father favored line fishing, Barry, who was enraptured by the adventures of Jacque Cousteau, made a do-it-yourself spear fishing gun, went diving off the local pier, and caught more fish than his dad did. Barry said those summer experiences and Cousteau gave him a keen interest in marine science.

When he was a teenager, Barry got a job working in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant near his parent’s store in Greenwich Village. He said the restaurant was owned by the New York mafia, and saw men he suspected were mafia often eating there. If a diner complained about his food, the waiter would take it to the kitchen, where the kitchen workers would often spit onto the corrected entrée before sending it back to the table.

Just before Barry went off to college, his family moved to the 13th floor of an apartment high rise in the Chelsea District of Manhattan, which was much closer to their store in the Village. Barry said he watched the World Trade Towers being constructed from the apartment window. (This same apartment building was used as a location for the 1999 movie 'Bringing out the Dead', which our son Aaron recognized from family visits to NYC when he saw the film).

Barry’s College Years

Barry’s high school record was not that great, but his parents were determined that he would get the college education they had not. For some reason, they chose Kansas Wesleyan University, a small college in Salina, Kansas. A couple of other students from New York City were also enrolled in the college that year. One of them was a Chinese American named, probably not ironically, Peter Pan. Barry tried to get in touch with him before leaving, He dialed a number he had for the guy and asked if Peter Pan was there. After a pause, the reply game back: ‘No, but I can get Tinker Bell for you.’ Barry and the other students boarded a train in Grand Central Station and after a couple of days got off in an open landscape of fields and cattle.

Despite the culture shock, Barry enjoyed his years at Kansas Wesleyan. He roomed for a time with Peter Pan, who was always cooking rice on a hot plate in their room. Later Peter became a wealthy importer of staples from China needed by American Chinese restaurants. Barry and a group of friends established a co-op in the town where they cooked broasted chicken and hung out. His other memory was in a friend’s dorm room. The guy took out his pistol and gave it to Barry to handle. He assured Barry the gun wasn’t loaded. Barry playfully took aim at his friend, but just before pulling the trigger he moved the gun aside. BANG! The bullet tore through the dorm wall instead of his friend. No one said anything about the incident, but Barry never owned a gun.

Kansas Wesleyan, a Methodist school in the heart of the Bible Belt, required all students to attend a Sunday sermon in the chapel. Barry and the few other Jewish students there reluctantly attended. One Sunday a guest pastor started railing about the evil Jews. Barry and his fellow Jewish students looked at each other with relief; their deliverance was at hand. Pretending to be gravely offended, they got up and stormed out of the chapel. They never had to go to Sunday services again.

After getting his B.A. in 1965, Barry decided to go on to graduate school. One impetus of course was to avoid the Viet Nam draft. He was accepted into the biology department at Arizona State University in Tucson. A field that was really hot at the time was research on human hormones. Barry became interested in endocrinology. Researchers in the field were highly competitive and argumentative. Barry remembered one incident in which two of the senior scientists in the field resorted to fisticuffs to settle a dispute. While in Tucson, Barry rented a drafty old house with outdated electrical wiring. One night there was a tremendous thunderstorm and ball lightening rolled all around his bedroom. As the winter chill set in, Barry found a moribund sparrow outside his house. He brought it in, warmed it up, and gave it food. The sparrow stayed in the house all winter, flying around and waking Barry up each morning with cheerful chirping while sitting at the head of his bed. In the spring the bird flew away.

While Barry’s draft number hadn’t come up in New York, where there were lots of other potential draftees, he finally got the dreaded draft board letter while in Arizona. His parents contacted his childhood physician in New York City, who had treated Barry for rheumatic fever when he was a pre-teen. Barry remembered that he had to stay in bed all one summer, getting shots of penicillin every day. The doctor provided a letter saying that Barry’s heart had been damaged by the fever. Barry traveled to the induction center and went through the entire procedure. At the end, standing in his underwear, he produced the doctor’s letter. The recruiter took a look, handed it back saying they would take Barry’s mother before they took him, and coded him 4-F. Barry said that one of the other guys who had traveled with him on the bus to be vetted for combat seemed to have serious mental problems.The guy was mumbling to himself and making jerky movements all the way to the induction center. But on the way back to Tucson, after also being labeled 4-F, the guy seemed perfectly normal. He told Barry he was a drama student at the university.

The situation at Arizona State was not the best, so Barry moved to the department of zoology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence to complete a master’s degree. He continued to work in endocrinology, settling on a project to study thyroid hormones. To get enough hormones, he got fish thyroids from a factory preparing carp for food. He met a lot of interesting graduate students at the university, some of whom he kept up with over the years since. He also met his first wife, Carol, who was a co-student.Her family ran a small farm in Kansas. Barry remembered visits where he tried to milk a cow, had to use the family outhouse, and was amazed by how Carol could buck heavy loads of hay. They married and soon after got their master’s degrees in 1970.

Barry and Carol decided to move to St. Louis to find jobs. Barry had an uncle in St. Louis. Barry landed a position in the city school system helping science teachers prepare for coursework. One day his boss told him that a local community college needed a lecturer in human anatomy right away, and since Barry had a Masters Degree in zoology, he was qualified.  Barry went over to the school, and as soon as he showed up, he was led to a classroom full of nursing students and told – go to it. Barry had a lot of catching up to do, but he finagled his way through the material, including dissection of human bodies.

Eventually both he and Carol got bored with their work in St. Louis, and decided to go for PhD’s in ecology. Since the University of Georgia had the hottest ecology program at the time, they applied there and were accepted. Both wanted to do coral reef research, and asked Bob Johannes, a coral reef scientist, to be their major professor. But grants for reef research were hard to come by, so Carol wound up doing a theoretical project on reef ecology. Barry cast around and when Barry, Alice Chalmers, and Ev got a grant to study salt marsh nitrogen cycling, he took on rates of denitrification in marsh soils. A senior professor in the microbiology department had a major program on denitrifying bacteria, and helped Barry financially and as a mentor. Barry took up an innovative approach based on gas chromatography of nitrous oxide, a by-product of denitrification, and was one of the first researchers to use the method in field research. Bob Johannes left the university while Barry was completing his research, and Larry Pomeroy graciously became a substitute major professor. Barry defended his thesis in 1977. (Ev happened to be on his committee since they had been working together on the research project. Barry liked to relate that he asked Ev what questions she would ask him for the oral exam. She provided a list. Barry, a cynical New Yorker, was sure that those were the questions she wouldn’t ask, and didn’t bother coming up with answers. Of course Ev, a non-cynical southerner, brought up those very topics during his exam. He passed handily anyway.)

Barry and Carol lived separately while Barry was completing his research on Sapelo, and they grew apart and in the end divorced and went their separate ways. In the meantime, Barry and Ev were growing fond of each other, and island romance ensued.

Life on Sapelo Island, 1974-1979

Barry first met Ev when he was a graduate student at the University of Georgia in Athens as Ev was finishing up her PhD thesis. Barry suggested that Ev take a short term post-doc position at the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island that the professor he was working with, Dr. Payne in the UGA Microbiology Department, had available.  Soon After that, Ev was offered a research position at the Marine Institute. Then she starting casting around for funding for a research project having to do with nitrogen cycling in the salt marsh and estuary.

As it happened, Barry and another UGA graduate student, Alice Chalmers, also were interested in working on nitrogen processes in the marshes around Sapelo, but they had no grant funding for their research. Barry’s professor, Robert Johannes, put them onto a possible source of funding: a water resources agency that gave out grants for specific projects to treat wastewater. Barry, Alice and Ev came up with a proposal to evaluate whether salt marsh microbes could break down organic wastes and remove nitrogen nutrients from secondarily treated sewage sludge. This was not really such a hair-brained idea. John Teal, who had pioneered study of the salt marsh ecosystem at the Marine Institute on Sapelo, and who was then at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, had partnered with a colleague, Ivan Valiela, to do a similar study in New England salt marshes. Granted, Teal and Valiela doped their marsh plots with commercially sanitized and packaged sewage sludge. We proposed to use the raw product from a sewage plant. The project, amazingly, was approved, with stipends for both Barry and Alice to complete their PhD projects.

So, now the question was, how to get sewage sludge to apply to the marsh. The sewage treatment plant in Athens, Georgia, allowed us to collect some dried sludge. We asked Larry Pomeroy, the professor at the UGA who was in charge of a major research project in the Sapelo salt marshes, if we could borrow his research van to deliver the sludge to the island. We are not sure if we were entirely clear about what we were going to transport. Pomeroy said OK, and we drove the van to the treatment plant and shoveled up the dark brown material (which smelled slightly perfumy, not bad at all) into large plastic trash barrels. We left the next morning for the four-hour drive to the coast in time for the afternoon ferry to Sapelo. It was a warm day, and we drove with the windows open, not noticing the little winged creatures that were emerging from the trash barrels. But when we got to the coast and opened up the back of the van, a cloud of sludge flies exploded from the interior. After removing the heavy barrels, we tried to shoo as many of the flies out of the van as we could, without great success. When we returned the van to Athens, Pomeroy had it fumigated. After we spread the sludge out in trays in Reynold's old greenhouse on Sapelo to dry out so we could pulverize the stuff to apply uniformly to the marsh surface, we were surprised to see many baby tomato plants sprout up.Apparently tomato seeds go through human guts unscathed.

The sludge study allowed Barry and Alice to gain important information about how the salt marsh processed nitrogen nutrients. The cordgrass grew somewhat taller and greener on the sludge plot, some of the nitrogen was lost to nitrification, and most of the sludge was washed off by the tide. Barry did his research on denitrification in the marsh sediments, and used a new approach for sensitively measuring the process. However, we found that this was really not judged to be a good way to deal with sewage, since most of the nitrogen was washed out to the estuary by the tides. Barry and Alice did complete their PhD’s based on the sludge study. Since Bob Johannes had left the UGA for the South Pacific by then, Larry Pomeroy agreed to serve as his major professor as Barry finished up his thesis, despite the sludge fly incident.

We joked that living on Sapelo was like being isolated during a long space trip, since we couldn't get to the mainland regularly for supplies and entertainment. We had lousy TV reception, and a dicey electrical line across the marsh that often went down. Our groceries were ordered daily from a mainland store, Bluesteins in Darien, brought over on the afternoon ferry, and delivered to our door by a van. Sometimes the person taking the order at the grocery had trouble understanding accents that weren't southern. One researcher from up north thought he had ordered a 'cheap steak' for dinner, but got a tube of chapstick instead. Another wanted a box of matches, but was surprised to find a box of Kotex in his order that evening. One couldn't order ice cream, as it would be a melted mess by the time it was delivered. Ev had an old ice cream churn, and would deploy it to make ice cream on occasion; we were particularly fond of crème de menthe chocolate chip.

Getting around the island could be a challenge. There were only a few paved roads that Reynolds had installed in the south end. One ran from Marsh Landing Dock, through a beautiful grove of arching oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, ending at the main road along the south end of the island, from the Marine Institute to Hog Hammock. This road, sarcastically termed the 'Autobahn', was packed sand. Residents had old trucks brought over from the mainland. In the late 1970's, the Marine Institute still had several beat-up surplus jeeps, but these were often misused by visiting students who took them out on the beach and got them mired in soft sand. The battered white trucks available for field projects weren't much better. Once Barry was driving one of the trucks along the airport road, and when he inadvertently pulled up on the steering wheel it came right off the steering column. He was able to slow the truck and wrestle the steering wheel back onto its column before we went off the road.

During our years on Sapelo, there were pleasures. We could hang out on a nearly deserted beach, or go fishing, crabbing and clamming anytime we wanted. We would drive on rotted pavement and rutted lanes to explore the northern part of Sapelo. There was a barn and ruins of slave cabins made from tabby from a nineteenth century plantation built by a Danish sea merchant. In colonial times, settlers along the Atlantic coast used oyster shells for constructing walls of tabby stone, a kind of cement made from lime, sand, water, and crushed shells left over from oyster harvests. The name of this old plantation, Chocolate, may be a corruption of the name of a local Native American village called Chucalate. There were even older mounds of oyster shells hidden in the forest, left by the natives that visited the island in prehistoric times. We would collect oysters from the tidal creeks and leave smaller heaps of shells from our own oyster roasts under the live oaks. Besides the island deer and wild turkeys, small bands of cattle left from the Reynolds dairy operation roamed the northern end of Sapelo; on one expedition in the 1970's we encountered two long-horned bulls that look as big and mean to us as Cape Buffalo.There was an old white horse named Pete that wandered about; we saw him sometimes but never learned his story.

We would also go up to Hog Hammock to the little store Bennie and Viola Johnson ran. On the weekend the Johnsons would make slow cooked barbequed ribs with sides like Viola's wonderful cornbread. On the Forth of July, the Hog Hammock community would have a big shindig at Bennie's store. The elders of the community would spend all night slow roasting ribs over oak coals in a deep pit, telling stories in their native Geechee. The next day, people would come over from the mainland on a special ferry run, including McIntosh County Sheriff Poppell (one can read about the McIntosh County, the sheriff, and the civil rights movement in the 1970's in the 1991 book Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Green). There would be a day-long picnic with many southern delicacies.

We were also fortunate to get to know the master basket maker, Allen Green, who wove baskets from island plants using techniques brought to coastal Georgia by the original African slaves. One of these, a wide shallow basket called a fanner, was traditionally used to separate rice grains from the chaff by tossing the grains in the basket and letting the island breeze carry off the husks. The babysitter we hired to look after our two boys in their infancy, Yvonne Grovner, later learned how to make these baskets from Mr. Green. We also valued knowing Cornelia and Frank Bailey, and cherish the memory of spending a New Year's Eve at their house in Hog Hammock. Cornelia published a wonderful store of memories of her life growing up in Sapelo's Geechee community in her book: 'God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man: a Saltwater Geechee Talks about Life on Sapelo Island. She remained active in the Hog Hammock community all of her life, advocating for the rights of the historic black community, and helping to start a commercial farming enterprise on the island with heirloom varieties of peas and sugar cane.

We were on Sapelo when former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter won the Presidency (the story was that when Carter told his mother he was running, she replied, 'That's nice dear, for president of what?') We celebrated Carter's victory by ordering from Bluesteins peanuts (the main crop of the Carter family farm) and green grapes (sour grapes for the Republicans), and enjoyed them around the big table in the UGMI library - the table on which we used to collate the 15 copies of NSF proprosals needed to mail off for review. During President Carter's term, from January1977 to January 1980, he and his retinue once came to vacation on Sapelo because the usual person he stayed with on St. Simon's island was under some sort of scandalous cloud.The Marine One helicopter landed on the Sapelo airstrip, and all the island residents (who had been carefully checked out by the Secret Service) were lined up to greet the Carter family. The Secret Service set up a communications center in one of the guest apartments, with the red phone handy. One day we were relaxing on Nannygoat Beach when President Carter came jogging by, followed by a jeep full of Secret Service guys.
Recent stories

Yiddish in Blazing Saddles

June 26, 2022
When Barry was a graduate student at the University of Georgia in the 1970's, he went to see Mel Brook's comedy Blazing Saddles at an Athens movie theater.

The scene came on in which Mel Brooks as a Sioux. Indian chief (with a nod to the practice of casting jewish actors as Indians in western films), confronted a lonely wagon of black settlers on the Oregon trail.  Brooks started spouting Yiddish: 'Shvartses! (Blacks!) (To Indian raising tomahawk): No, no, zayt nisht meshuge! (Don't be crazy!) (Raising arms to the heavens in stereotypical Indian pose): Loz im geyn! (Let him go!)'

Well Barry couldn't help letting out a loud guffaw at the unexpected Yiddish, which of course he was familiar with since his dad and grandparents spoke it.  He said a couple of others in the theater laughed too, but most of the audience probably thought it was some sort of Native American language.

See the clip at:

Old Fashioned Oceanography

August 1, 2021
When Barry and Ev were graduate students, they both participated on cruises of RV (Research Vessel) Eastward operated by The Duke University Marine Laboratory (DUML) in Beaufort, North Carolina. Eastward, commissioned in 1965, was the official oceanographic training vessel of the U.S. research fleet. She was available for both oceanographic research and class cruises in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Barry participated in graduate student cruises led by Larry Pomeroy, and Ev did her thesis research on Eastward along with a Pomeroy student, Gene Turner.

Eastward was called the oceanographic training vessel for good reason. She was only 117 feet long, with a round bottom, and rolled something awful even in moderate seas. ‘Barf Bucket’ was an unofficial label Eastward deservedly earned. This was the only research vessel on which Ev saw a cruise participant literally turn green from seasickness. That was in June 1972, during one of Pomeroy’s class and Ev’s research cruises, when Hurricane Agnes churned from the Gulf of Mexico over Florida and across coastal Georgia, building up high waves over the shelf where the scientists were sampling. The incessant rolling and alarming jolts when a huge wave hit athwart the ship, combined with diesel fumes wafting up the corridor of the scientists’ cabins, were just too much for queasy stomachs.

Larry Pomeroy, who was the head scientist on that 1972 cruise accompanied by marine science graduate students, wrote about this episode in a memoir about oceanography on Eastward, posted on his memorial web page:
'On one occasion we found ourselves in the edge of a hurricane off Brunswick, Georgia. The eye of the storm was reported to be in the Gulf of Mexico, but even where we were the wind was lifting sheets of water from the sea. Sea and sky came together in a white shroud of blowing water. Visibility was zero and radar could not function. Sandoy (Eastward's captain) radioed his port captain, George Newton, in Beaufort for permission to dock in Brunswick because of the storm. The port captain was mystified by this request, because, he said, the storm was in the Gulf of Mexico. Radio exchanges went on for some hours until finally the port captain relented, and Sandoy summoned the Brunswick pilot. We waited in the blowing water. Finally, the pilot radioed that his boat was taking too much water, he was in danger of sinking, and he could not even locate us. He was going to have to turn back.In his heavy accent, Sandoy said, "I think I'll go south." We went rather slowly and blindly southward by compass, more or less toward the hurricane. Off northern Florida, we found a patch of relative calm, as one does far from the storm center, and without consulting anyone, Sandoy made a run into the nearest inlet and docked at Fernandina. We stayed there three days, spending all our money—on beer, mind you—in a brothel called the Palace Saloon. The eye of the storm passed nearby during those days. Then we went on with our cruise, except for one graduate student who had taken the first bus home.' (Note – that was the student who had turned green before the ship went into the port, he decided on a land-based career after that experience.)

Oceanographic sampling on Eastward was a holdover of methods used before CTD (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) rosette sampling packages and computer logging of data were universal on research ships. Temperature profiles were determined by sending down a continuously recording bathythermograph (BT) instrument or a reversing thermometer for each depth.To collect water samples, separate hard plastic Niskin bottles were hand-hung on a metal wire on one side of the ship, and lowered to specific depths.The bottles were snapped shut to collect a sample of seawater at each depth by manually placing and sending down on the wire a heavy brass messenger, which popped the top bottle, releasing the next messenger to close the bottle hung below it, and so on to the last bottle on the wire.Needless to say, hanging 8-liter bottles on a wire when the ship was rolling and waves were breaking over the railing was a challenge.If there was a current tilting the bottle package away from vertical, the wire angle had to be determined to calculate the exact depth of each bottle. Taking the full bottles off the wire and carefully walking them to the bottle rack was even more daunting in a heavy sea.After racking and securing the Niskin bottles, separate smaller sample bottles were filled from a nipple at the base of each bottle for different analyses: glass salinity bottles, plastic bottles filled and frozen for later nutrient analysis, bottles for chlorophyll determination, large polycarbonate bottles for particulate carbon and nitrogen samples. Salinity and chlorophyll were analyzed between sampling stations during the cruise.

Seasickness is experienced by most sea-going oceanographers. Usually scientists would be nauseous the first day, and then get accustomed to the ship's motion. But stormy seas brought back the woe, first as overproducing salivary glands, and then a desire to heave.PESR watch duty, which all the crew had to stand up on the bridge, was the worst. The Precision Echo Sounding Recorder, or PESR, sends bursts of chirping sound; the echo returning from the sea bottom is picked up by a hydrophone, and the time differential between the chirp and its echo is converted to a measure of depth electronically.  As the ship steams, the PESR continuously draws a contour of the sea bottom by a hot wire on a broad chart of moving paper. The PESR task was to monitor the output and label the ship's depth chart as it un-spooled with the date, time and position. The exaggerated motion of the upper part of the ship, combined with the smell of burning paper and electronics in the small instrument room as the depth was continuously monitored, was often just too much. When scientists got too ill, they would repair to their bunks, as lying down quieted the sensation.

Research ship food varies with the ship and the cooking staff. On Eastward Howard Wilson and Clyde Everett labored in the tiny galley at the rear of the ship to provide three calorie, fat, and salt-laden down-home meals for the scientists and crew each day. Breakfast usually included plate-sized pancakes, eggs, sausage or bacon and freshly baked biscuits.Lunch and dinner presented various fried or sauce-covered meat entrées with overcooked vegetables. When steaks were on the menu, Barry observed Howard liberally salt the cuts on both sides before frying them in a pan. Dessert was ice cream or pie - sweet potato pie was a favorite. Sometimes, though, the cooks would go trolling between meals and there would be fresh fish  for dinner. Those working at night could raid the pantry for saltine crackers, peanut butter, and sardines. The cooks were berthed below deck in the most forward part of the crew's quarters. The ship's bow, of course, had the most violent motion in heavy seas, and the cooks would risk being tossed from their bunks.In those conditions, they would evacuate aft to the galley and sleep on the padded benches of the dining area.

Of course, there were moments of delight on the cruises when the seas were calm.I t was always a thrill to look around and not see land or a single other ship, and have the sense of being in a watery wilderness, far removed from civilization. When the Eastward was underway bottlenose dolphins would be attracted to the ship’s bow waves, and the crew would stand at the rails looking down at the elegant forms torpedoing along or splashing in and out of the standing waves on either side of the ship, obviously having great fun.The ship also stirred up flying fish, which would leap out of the waves ahead of the track and skim the ocean with fins outstretched for long seconds.Gulls and terns often flocked aft to snatch small fish and squid churned up by the propellers. When the ship was far from the coast, at the edge of the Sargasso Sea in the central North Atlantic, scientists scooped up clumps of sargassum weed floating on the surface with a bucket attached to a rope flung over a side railing. Then the golden-brown seaweed was put into clear glass jars to view the myriad fish, shrimp, and other sea creatures sheltering among the algal strands. Some endemic species, like the sargassum fish, had color patterns and body appendages to mimic the hues and patterns of the seaweed, perfectly camouflaged in their floating home.

Watch YouTube videos of a 1972 Eastward cruise that Ev participated in to see old fashioned sampling in action:
WOE 15 Science and the Sea Parts I and II

Valentines Day artlcle about Ev & Barry in the Corvallis Gazette-Times

July 28, 2021
I had forgotten about this, but in 2004 a reporter for the Corvallis newspaper, the Gazette-Times, did a story on us for Valentines Day:

Couple loves every minute

Pair of OSU science professors share close to every waking moment together

By THERESA HOGUE    Gazette-Times February 14 2004  

For some couples, the secret to a long-lasting marriage is maintaining a certain independence, a special piece of life that is separate from the other partner's.

Some even take separate vacations, and most at least have a job or hobby that takes them away from their house, and their spouse, for at least part of the day.

But when you ask Ev and Barry Sherr about taking time off from each other, they exchange confused glances. The two Oregon State University professors of oceanic and atmospheric science work side by side all day, and go home together at night, and never complain that they're seeing too much of each other.

"We're used to being together," Ev says, her eyes locking with Barry's. "It's hard for us to be apart."

Barry is a little less sentimental. He can think of plenty of times that they're not together.

"When we come home, I sit on the couch and watch TV while she's in the kitchen," he volunteers as proof of their time apart.

Ev and Barry haven't been apart too often since they met 30 years ago. At the time, Barry was a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia, studying estuaries on Sapelo Island off the coast of Georgia. Ev was a post-doc researcher who came to Sapelo as a senior scientist on the same project.

When they first met, they were each married to other people. Ev's husband was also an academic, who lived on the mainland while Ev lived on the island. Barry's wife was living far away as well, and neither couple was spending much time together.

Work was the focus for Ev and Barry for the first few years, as Barry worked on completing his degree, and Ev was busy with her research. But once Barry finished his course work, he returned to the island, and love began to grow.

Both marriages had subsequently fallen apart, and the island, isolated and beautiful, was a natural backdrop for their relationship.

"It was a magic place," Ev said. "There was a deserted beach, and because it was isolated, it was a pretty romantic place."

While their first marriages had dissolved in part because of distance, their new relationship grew because of their proximity, and a shared passion for oceanography.

When Barry got the opportunity to do post doctorate work in Israel, they decided to marry, making it easier for them to travel together and live abroad. Ev took a year and a half leave from work on the island, and they flew to Israel just a week after their wedding day, Sept. 11, 1979.

Barry, who admittedly is a little light on romance, pointed out that the date of their anniversary is now a hard one to forget.

After completing his work in Israel, Barry returned with Ev to the island, where they continued to live and work from 1981 until 1990. They adopted one child, Aaron, in 1982, and nine months after his adoption, Ev discovered she was pregnant. Their second son, Jared, is now a freshman in physics at the University of Oregon.

The children led a sheltered life on the island, which had few inhabitants and no school. The boys had to take a 45-minute boat ride to the mainland and another 45-minute bus ride just to get to school.

"We wanted to get off the island," Ev said. "But the problem is working together as a research team, it's not that easy to find a job."

Oregon's higher education system has a history of supporting duel-career couples, and when a position opened up at OSU, the Sherrs jumped at the chance. The university allowed them to split the position between them, allowing the couple more time to raise their family.

Ev said their colleagues don't understand how a married couple can survive being together 24 hours a day, but Barry shrugs it off with a little chuckle.

"You can get used to anything," he joked. "Time flies."

Research does occasionally split the couple for a few months, including the time Barry spent half a year on the Arctic Ocean. Ev has two 40-day cruises to go on this year, which Barry said he's "not looking forward to."

"Mainly because I'll have to take care of the dog and the house, and our eldest son moved in with his cat, so now we have a grand-cat," Barry grumbled. He didn't mention the part where he'd miss Ev, but he didn't have to.

When they're apart, the couple e-mail each other daily, and have even discussed digital cameras attached to their computers for video conferencing.

As for Valentine's Day, the couple has no big plans. They don't exchange gifts or make a big deal out of the day. In fact, the most romantic gift Ev can recall receiving is something Barry and the kids gave her for Mother's Day a few years ago. Her eyes lit up as she recalled the "wonderful" present.

"They gave me a pressure cooker!" she said. "It was exactly what I wanted. I don't want jewelry."

It must be true love.

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