In Memoriam: Barbara Linn Reider

by Clayton French, CHP, David Medich, CHP, and Mark Tries

A Departed Friend

Barbara Linn Reider was a Health Physics Society member and certified health physicist whose career touched many of us over the past 40 years. Barbara was a never-smoker who died of non-small cell lung cancer on 18 November 2010. Barbara was working full-time as a corporate CHP for The Shaw Group Inc., and was enrolled in a doctoral program when she was diagnosed in 2007.

Barbara grew up with her feet in the sand and her head in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean and could not imagine it any other way. She was a wife, daughter, sister, in-law, and aunt to a large and wonderful family. Barbara is survived by her husband David; mother and father Helen and Larry Reider; siblings Larry, Dan, Linda, Lori, and Sandy; in-laws the Sedmaks and Udens of Melbourne, Australia; 13 nieces and nephews; and other family members. She had many wonderful friends both from the past and recent times who filled her with gratitude.

Barbara’s passions were her hobbies, and there was never enough time in the week for everything. Barbara was an avid windsurfer, and she enjoyed SCUBA diving and skiing as well. She loved to read novels and to travel with her husband around the world. Barbara studied printmaking in college and continued this hobby for the rest of her life.

Barbara was working on her PhD in medical physics/radiological sciences in the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Program at UMass Lowell and had to discontinue this endeavor after she was diagnosed. Before her diagnosis, she would not let her dentist take x rays every year. After her diagnosis, she endured 14,000 rad of therapeutic radiation doses, along with numerous diagnostic CT and PET scans as well as chemotherapy. Radiation therapy did render the tumors dormant, but unfortunately the chemotherapy could not stop the cancer cells from spreading. Barbara also gave two student seminars at UMass Lowell on the realities of receiving chemotherapy and large radiation-therapy doses. Barbara’s seminars were acts of extraordinary courage and generosity and were invaluable for providing the students with a patient’s perspective on cancer treatments.

Barbara was a close friend and mentor to many of her fellow students. Her classmates recognized a kindhearted person with decades of experience who could help them keep life in perspective while working toward their degrees. Barbara was naturally curious, asking how and why to everything, which she attributed to her dad, who was an engineer. She could readily grasp the big picture and had the technical skills to delve into scientific details—a fearsome combination. Barbara particularly enjoyed internal dosimetry and her time at Canberra Industries working with instrumentation. She first worked with Kenneth Skrable, George Chabot, and Clayton French in 2003 when they consulted for The Shaw Group on an internal dosimetry project, which ultimately led to her academic pursuits at UMass Lowell. The university is diminished by her absence, and the faculty and students are greatly saddened by her loss.

Barbara kindly donated her reference books and health physics materials to the Radiological Sciences Program at UMass Lowell. In Barbara’s honor, the program faculty established the “Barbara Reider Radiological Sciences Resource Room," a newly renovated space where her materials are available to students. Her donated artwork also will be displayed in this room. Barbara did not want to be forgotten, and this room is one way to ensure that her passions speak to future generations in the radiological sciences community.

Cards of remembrance can be sent to Barbara’s husband: David Reider, 162 Branch Street, Scituate, MA 02066. Barbara wanted donations in her name, in lieu of flowers, sent to Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology), 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115 (http://www.dana-farber.org/how/gifts/); or to The Wellness Community, Massachusetts South Shore, 273 Hanover Street, Hanover, MA 02339 (http://www.thewellnesscommunitymass.org/).