ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Barry Sherr. We will remember him forever.
Posted by David Kirchman on 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.
Posted by Carlos Pedrós-Alió on 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.
Posted by Juan Gonzalez on 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.
Posted by Marcelino Suzuki on 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.
Posted by Lee Cooper on May 22, 2021
Ev,

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.
Posted by Michael Pace on 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. 
Posted by Lorene Howard on May 20, 2021
Ev,

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
Posted by GM King on 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.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by David Kirchman on 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.
Posted by Carlos Pedrós-Alió on 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.
Posted by Juan Gonzalez on 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.
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 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. One of the other residents 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, and 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 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

Salty language

Shared by Evelyn Sherr on May 25, 2021
Barry said what he thought, often with off-color language worthy of a sailor.  The kids were listening. One of the first things Jared liked to say was 'A-ho', usually when he was upset with his brother Aaron. We thought it was cute until we realized what Jared meant.  On a trip to visit Barry's folks in New York City, they took us to a party at their synagogue.  Jared seemed like just a sweet little 3-year old.  One of the elders at the party picked Jared up to admire him.  Jared said something to the man, and a shocked expression came over his face and he quickly put the little guy down. We imagined that Jared had said his standard phrase expressing displeasure, picked up from Barry, and the man had realized what it was.

Barry liked to eat

Shared by Evelyn Sherr on May 23, 2021
Ev loved to cook, and Barry loved to eat. (That made it all the more distressing that in the last few months of his life, Barry stopped eating He said that food tasted like sawdust, and just didn’t want any. But the last coherent thing he said to Ev in the hospital was: ‘Ev, want to get something for dinner?’)

Barry most enjoyed all the bad stuff: deli meat and cheese, pizza, hot dogs (we called them ‘tube steaks’), fatty ribs, fried chicken, grilled steaks. His mother Miriam was a good cook despite working six days a week with Barry’s dad Saul in their variety store in Greenwich Village. He was raised on New York Jewish cuisine: bagels, lox, pickled herring, knishes, brisket, kosher deli meats. Since Jewish tradition is that meat has to be drained of blood before cooking, beef was always prepared very well done. Barry insisted that hamburgers, steaks, and roasts be cooked with not a hint of pink.

Barry loved fresh baked bread, and fondly remembered the little bakery near his parents’' apartment in the Chelsea district that had fabulous rolls and rye bread. He also always raved about New York pizzas, and how no other pizzas could compare to those. He liked to get bakery baguettes to make crusty sandwiches.

And sweets – Barry had a well-developed sweet tooth. There was a pastry shop near Penn Station, D’Aiuto’s, that Barry always took our family to when visiting New York. The place was famous for Baby Watson Cheesecake. It was founded by Italian immigrants and their company was once among the biggest producers of cheesecake in New York City. Barry loved their cannoli, too. Ev would make cheesecakes at home that almost, but not quite, measured up to D’Aiuto’s’. A favorite place for brunch in Corvallis was New Morning, a restaurant/bakery. Barry loved their cinnamon twists and carrot cake, Ev their strawberry-rhubarb pie. If one wanted a fancy cake, that was the place to order it.

When we lived in Israel for a year and a half just after we married, we were thrown into a new gustatory experience – Middle East cuisine. Israel had wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables that the natives used in innovative ways. Israeli chopped salad for breakfast was one we easily adopted. Israeli restaurants had lots of ‘little plate’ appetizers that could easily be a whole meal. We were introduced to hummus and smoky eggplant dip scooped up with fresh baked pita bread. Our lab friend Miriam Edelstein showed us how to make the eggplant dip (Baba Ganoush) by first charring an eggplant on a gas grill. Ev especially liked a roasted eggplant, fresh tomato and garlic salad. Of course, we indulged in the traditional Mid-East snack, fried hummus balls (falafel) in pita halves with pickled vegetables and hot peppers on top. In downtown Tiberias there were multiple falafel stands.There was also a conditoria, a pastry shop, which we visited regularly for cookies and strudel. We liked the old couple that ran it. When we visited with Jared in 2009, the little shop was still there, run by the old couple’s son.

A new fruit we discovered in Israel was the pomelo, a large sweet, dry grapefruit that can be peeled and eaten in segments. We also were introduced to the small, crisp Persian cucumbers that were used in salads. We were amused when we went to one of the two movie theaters in Tiberias to see young people bring in cucumbers and bell peppers to snack on during the show.

Beef was mainly imported to Israel as frozen cuts of meat from Argentina, and was expensive. We mainly cooked chicken and fish in our apartment. A favorite way to make chicken was to pound breast fillets flat, coat them with bread crumbs and fry in oil for chicken schnitzel. Our friends Bina and Didi Kaplan took us on a picnic up in the hills around Lake Kinneret and grilled chicken hearts for us – definitely not something we would think of. One could get pork chops, but since pork was trafe – forbidden - in traditional Jewish cuisine, the Israelis referred to pork chops as ‘steak lavan’ or ‘white steak.’ We were introduced to new types of pasta that we had never seen in Georgia. One was rice-like orzo. We called this pasta ‘ee-tri-oht’ thinking that was its specific name. But it turned out that ‘eetrioht’ was just the general Hebrew word for pasta. In Tiberias there were a number of restaurants catering to Christian tourists that served ‘St Peter’s fish’, tilapia caught in the lake, usually crisp fried.

In the Middle East, everyone drank coffee rather than tea. In the lab people would prepare Turkish coffee. Israelis called it ‘botz café’ which meant ‘mud coffee’ because of the dark grounds at the bottom of the cup. When we took a road trip down to the Sinai Peninsula, we had botz café at a Bedouin camp. In coffee shops we liked to order ‘café im hel’. which meant Turkish coffee with added cardamom. But instant coffee was also popular for its convenience, and that’s what we mainly drank. In summer restaurants served ice-café, coffee with vanilla ice cream, or milk, sugar and ice cubes, as a cool refresher.

When we came back to Sapelo, we got back in the groove of harvesting fish and shellfish from around the island.We would go out oystering in the creeks, and leave crab traps baited with chicken necks for a blue crab feast. Ev would go feeling around the sandy bottom of a creek near the beach for clams to make clam chowder. And of course the fishing was great. At the first cold wave of the fall, we would anticipate a run of sea trout up the tidal rivers, and go at night to troll for trout from Meridian Dock using shrimp or wiggly plastic lures.The most unusual way we fished was stalking red drum in the salt marsh. On the highest tides, these large fish would swim well up into the marsh hunting fiddler crabs. We waded out on an incoming tide with rods baited with a shrimp or a chunk of mullet. When we saw a fin poking up from the water covering the marsh, we would estimate the fish’s course and try to land the hook just in front of it. If the fish took the bait, we would wait until we were sure the hook was swallowed, then have a hard fight until we could reel the drum in. The smoked mullet prepared by some of the men in Hog Hammock was a delicious treat.

In Georgia Barry couldn’t wait for summertime fresh plums, peaches, ripe tomatoes, and ears of corn. When we moved to Oregon, we mourned losing Georgia peaches and good-tasting tomatoes.The Northwest did have many of Barry’s favorites, though: cherries, apples, plums, and blueberries. There was a blueberry farm just outside of Corvallis where Ev would go every summer to load up on the best tasting varieties. Ev would also bake a special apple pie piled high with apple slices that Barry eagerly prepared.Salmon and dungeness crab substituted for Georgia coastal fish and blue crabs.There were lots of good vegetables sold at the summer farmer’s markets, even ripe tomatoes grown in hothouses.

The Northwest is a food-lovers paradise, with many great restaurants. In Corvallis we learned to savor Thai dishes by often having lunch specials at Tarntip, a little restaurant near the oceanography buildings on the OSU campus in which the kitchen staff would chat in Thai.The family had another restaurant – in Paris, and every August Tarntip would be closed for a month so the owners could go to France to visit the other half of their family. Two other restaurants we frequented for lunch sat right by the Thai place: Bombs Away, a funky Mexican eatery that featured large burritos, and American Dream Pizza, where we would order a slice and a salad for lunch. Father down the street was a hippy-ish vegetarian restaurant, Nearly Normals, that had outdoor seating among trees and vines. Portland is also a foodies’ dream, but when we traveled there we usually wound up at a New York style delicatessen, Kornblatts, which served matzo ball soup, chopped liver, and deli sandwiches which Barry deemed nearly as good a the delis in New York. There was even a tub of fat kosher pickles swimming in brine on each table.

Of course, Barry never lost his taste for southern cooking. When we spent a few months on sabbatical at the University of Georgia in Athens in the summer of 1999, we made sure to indulge. We took Aaron, Jared, and Aaron’s best buddy Erich, who traveled with us to Georgia, to a famous Athens eatery: Charlie Williams Pinecrest Lodge. The place was surrounded by woods, and had the most impressive buffet we had ever seen. We loaded our plates with all the southern delicacies: barbeque meats, fried catfish, fried chicken, cornbread, okra, turnip greens, peach cobbler. We were lucky – the restaurant, a fixture in Athens since 1929, closed for good in 2004.