Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger | Mr. Gustave G. Amsterdam | Dr. Max Caspari | Dr. Charles Price

Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger, Ophthalmology

Faculty and staff at the Scheie Eye Institute, hundreds of friends and family members, as well as patients and professional associates are mourning the loss of Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger, who died of cancer on January 25.Until three weeks before his death, Jeff was a vibrant and vital husband, father, friend, physician, surgeon, teacher and scientist. He became ill the first week of January, was diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma on Friday, January 12, and passed away on Thursday, January 25. His passing is a tremendous loss to the multitude of people whose lives he touched and to untold thousands whose lives he would have touched had he lived a full life.

And yet in a larger sense Jeff lived an extraordinarily full life that was compressed into just 37 years. He was graduated in 1985 from Princeton with a bachelor of science degree in engineering and in 1992 obtained M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. After a residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, he came to Scheie Eye Institute as a fellow in vitreoretinal diseases in 1996 and remained on the faculty from 1997 to 2001.

During his short tenure at Scheie/Penn, Jeff had an extraordinary number of accomplishments. He founded and directed the Computer Vision Laboratory which was funded in part by a Career Development Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. of New York and in part by the National Eye Institute through his Mentored Clinician-Scientist Award. Jeff also served as principal investigator of the Reading Center for the NEI-funded Complications of AMD Prevention Trial (CAPT). A third NEI grant had just received a favorable evaluation.

In addition to maintaining a large clinical practice and serving as Chief of the Retina Service at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Jeff was involved in collaborative research with investigators throughout the world. He had developed a system for evaluating digital fundus images which was applicable to patient care as well as to the evaluation of images from patients participating in randomized clinical trials. His extensive bibliography included peer reviewed publications in the ophthalmic literature as well as the engineering literature. He was an expert on laser tissue interactions as well as optical imaging and retinal diseases. Among his more important recent publications were his principal editorship of the textbook entitled, Age-related Macular Degeneration published by C.V. Mosby in 1999, and a seminal review article on AMD which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Enumerating publications and grants captures only one portion of the image that characterized Jeff. He was a loving husband to Karen and father of three children (Adina 11, Tamar 8, and Joseph 3), a pillar of his synagogue and community in Cherry Hill, NJ, a valued and respected member of the faculty of Scheie Eye Institute at Penn, an inspiring teacher who had won the department's Golden Apple Award and a consultant to several companies interested in the clinical applications of his research.

Jeff's friends and associates at Scheie, at Penn, and around the world are mourning our loss. With the passage of time, our pain will diminish and we will recall our wonderful interactions with Jeff. His contributions will continue to serve as a beacon that sheds light on the areas in which his insightful publications addressed unsolved problems in vision and ophthalmology.

--Dr. Stuart L. Fine, Chair, Department of Ophthalmology

Photo by Fabian Bachrach

Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger | Mr. Gustave G. Amsterdam | Dr. Max Caspari | Dr. Charles Price

Mr. Amsterdam, Trustee Emeritus

Mr. Gustave G. Amsterdam, trustee emeritus of Penn and overseer emeritus of the University Museum and GSFA, died on February 12, at the age of 92.

Mr. Amsterdam, C '30, Law '33, was the retired chairman and CEO of Bankers Securities Corporation. He was a director of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

He is survived by his wife, Valla; a son, Anthony; and four grandchildren. 

Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger | Mr. Gustave G. Amsterdam | Dr. Max Caspari | Dr. Charles Price

Dr. Caspari, Physics

Dr. Max Caspari, emeritus professor of physics, died on February 9, at the age of 77. He served as chair of the physics department from 1968 to 1973 and was associate chair for graduate affairs from 1967 to 1968.

Dr. Caspari was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and received his B.A. from Wesleyan in 1948 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1954. He began his career at Penn as an instructor in 1953, became a full professor in 1964 and retired in 1987.

He is survived by his daughter, Rachel; sons, Matthew and Alex; five grandchildren and eight step-grandchildren.

Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger | Mr. Gustave G. Amsterdam | Dr. Max Caspari | Dr. Charles Price

Dr. Price, Chemistry

Dr. Charles Price, emeritus University Professor, died on February 11, at the age of 87. Dr. Price was the former chair of the chemistry department.

Born in Passaic, NJ, Dr. Price received his B.S. in chemistry from Swarthmore in 1934, his M.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard in 1935 and 1936 respectively, working under Dr. Louis F. Fieser. He joined the University of Illinois as a research assistant in 1936, and remained there until 1946 reaching the rank of associate professor. He became head of the chemistry department and professor of chemistry at the University of Notre Dame in 1946.

Dr. Price left Notre Dame for two years to serve in Congress and returned there in the same capacity in January of 1954. He arrived at Penn in the fall of 1954 as the Blanchard Professor of Chemistry and chair of the department. Dr. Price resigned as department chair in 1965 and was appointed University Professor of Chemistry in 1966. He served as a Fulbright Lecturer at Kyoto and Osaka Universities from 1962 to 1963 and was appointed Benjamin Franklin Professor of Chemistry in 1968. He also helped organize the Chemical Heritage Foundation, with the aim of recording the history of chemical sciences and promoting its research and understanding by the public.

Photo from Chemical Heritage Foundation Image Archives, Othmer Library of Chemical History, Philadelphia, PA

He served as chair of the Faculty Senate from 1968-1969 and Moderator of the University Council from 1972-1975, served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and served on the Board of Directors of the Wistar Institute, the Franklin Institute, the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, and the American Association for the United Nations. He was chair of the National Science Foundation Divisional Committee for Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. He was past president of the American Chemical Society. 

Dr. Price's research was concerned principally with the mechanism of various organic reactions, such as substitutions in aromatic compounds, addition, elimination and replacement reactions, vinyl type addition polymerization and copolymerization, aliphatic and aromatic poly-ethers, the hydrolysis and oxidation of chemical warfare agents and the reaction of biopolymers with alkylating agents.

"Dr. Price was a world-renowned organic chemist, specialized in polymer, rubber and resins. In addition to many scholarly publications he also held important patents on synthetic rubber, which were commercialized by the Rohm & Haas Company," said Dr. Hai-Lung Dai, chair of the Department of Chemistry.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Parker Gill Price; daughters, Patricia Paxson, Susanne Neal, Sally Honey and Judith P. Waterman; son, Charles C. 4th; stepsons William H. Gill, Jr., and Douglas P. Gill; a sister; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Charles C. Price Fellowship Fund at the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on March 10 at Swarthmore Friends Meeting House on the Swarthmore College campus.

Dr. Jeffrey W. Berger | Mr. Gustave G. Amsterdam | Dr. Max Caspari | Dr. Charles Price

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 23, February 20, 2001