Longtime MBL benefactor and co-founder of the Grass Foundation Ellen H. Grass died on June 14, 2001 in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was 87. Mrs. Grass served as a member of the MBL’s Board of Trustees from 1982 to 1986 and again from 1988 to 1993. In August 1993 she was named an Honorary Trustee of the Laboratory.
Born in Taunton, Massachusetts, Mrs. Grass received her A.B. and M.A. degrees from Radcliffe College and an honorary L.L.D. from Regis College and an honorary D. Sc. From St. Louis University. In 1988 she received the Lifetime Service Award from the Epilepsy Foundation of America.
In 1945, Mrs. Grass and her husband, Dr. Albert M. Grass, co-founded the Grass Instrument Company, a world-renowned firm that designed and produced electromedical and diagnostic instrumentation for clinical and research neurophysiology. Mrs. Grass served as the treasurer and sales manager of the company until the death of her husband in 1992 at which time she became its president. She retired in1994 upon its sale.
In 1955, Dr. and Mrs. Grass established the Grass Foundation to provide educational opportunities for promising students in the fields of neurophysiology and clinical neurology. For more than 40 years the Foundation has sponsored the Grass Summer Fellowships Program at the MBL which offers young neuroscientists the opportunity to conduct independent research, often for the first time in their careers.
The Grass Foundation has been a significant benefactor of the MBL for decades, supporting the annual Forbes Lectures and many of the Laboratory’s neurobiology courses including Neurobiology, Neural Systems and Behavior, Neural Development and Genetics of Zebrafish, and Neurobiology of the Leech. Over the years the Foundation has also contributed to the library, housing, and various renovation projects, as well as the development of some of the MBL’s year-round research programs. In 1999, Mrs. Grass generously established the Albert and Ellen Grass Endowed Directorship of the Marine Resources Center.
Mrs. Grass is survived by two sons, Robert Grass of Weymouth, Massachusetts and Henry J. Grass of Oregon; and five grandchildren.