Dr. Josephine “Jo” Saltzgaber Print E-mail


Dr. Josephine “Jo” Saltzgaber

Beloved, Brilliant and Bold

Dr. Josephine “Jo” Saltzgaber passed away on Tuesday June 12.  She was 85 years old.

She was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1933, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth Muller. She attended St. Mary’s Academy in Windsor, Ontario where she skipped 3 grade levels and was her class salutorian. She received a BS in Medical Technology from Wayne State University in Detroit MI in 1953. She was married to Jan Saltzgaber from 1954-1974, and they had 3 children, Dirk (b.1955), Lisa (b.1957) and Erik (b.1962).

Jo worked as a medical technologist in Detroit and was the lead medical technologist at Mount Clemens General Hospital in 1964 when a devastating tornado tore through Mount Clemens and New Baltimore in southeast Michigan, an event that affected her deeply.

The family moved to Ithaca NY in 1965, where Jo spent several years in the Biochemistry department at Cornell University, and began her Ph.D. studies.  She later moved to Basel Switzerland to continue her research and earned her Ph.D in biochemistry from the University of Basel. After doing post-doctoral work at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, she accepted a position as a research scientist with Dupont/NEN in the Molecular Biology division and moved to Massachusetts. She spent the remainder of her professional life with Dupont/NEN, where she developed a unique DNA probe for which she was awarded a patent.  Her research was published in several respected scientific journals.  In her last position at Dupont, Dr. Saltzgaber gave scientific lectures about molecular biology products, travelling to universities and hospitals in Europe, Australia, South America, China and Japan. She retired from Dupont in 1995.

In her leisure time, Jo was an accomplished classical pianist, but it was the jazz classic “Blue Moon” that her children and later her grandchildren would beg her to play, which she did with great flourish. She read the Boston Globe daily, and enjoyed mystery novels and historical fiction. She was a passionate sports fan, a passion she shared with her sons, especially when their Detroit teams were playing.  She’d be watching the games while knitting sweaters with complicated patterns and could be heard to yell “Hot Dog!” whenever her Lions or Tigers scored. Jo loved to play Contract Bridge, and played as often as she could at the Chelmsford Senior Center or with her daughter and granddaughters. She looked forward to weekly lunches out with dear friend Kay Menzie, and other close friends from her Dupont days.

Though failing health in her later years limited her physically, her mind remained sharp.  She was blessed to be able to express her love and say goodbye to distant loved ones. Her daughter and granddaughters, Amity and Genny, remained by her side and were with her when she passed.

She is survived by son, Dirk Saltzgaber, USAF (ret), and wife Sherrie of Abilene TX;  daughter, Lisa O’Donnell and husband Michael of North Chelmsford, MA.  She is also survived by 6 grandchildren and their spouses, Amity Baldwin (Peter) of Tyngsboro, MA; Genevieve Ricard (Jerry) of Mechanic Falls, ME; Corey Zahler (Matt) of Junction City, KS; Ryan Saltzgaber (Dayna) of Colorado Springs, CO; Nathan (Lily) and Derek (Rachel) Saltzgaber, of Omaha, NE.   She also leaves 12 great grandchildren-Thomas and Lillian Baldwin; Andrew, Isabella and Benjamin Ricard; Josiah and Caroline Zahler, Rylee and Finlee Saltzgaber, Levia, Jaden, and Eli Saltzgaber, with 2 more due in August!  Her sister Elsie Wolf, husband John, and their daughter Vicki Baumert live in Windsor, Ontario.  Jo’s son Erik, of Los Angeles, CA predeceased her in 2008. In 2011, great granddaughter Gracen, was born and passed but briefly through this life.

A memorial celebration for Jo will be planned for a later date.  Those who wish to, may make a donation in Jo’s name to the American Lung Association, the Macular Degeneration Association or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


Condolences (2)
  • Shirley Markham  - To a very special person.
    Jo you were so nice to me when I arrived at Bayberry. I so enjoyed our time together. My children enjoyed dinner or coffee with you. Pam especially liked the couple of "happy hours" were we enjoyed the entertainment. Your family was very blessed to have you in their lives. Rest well. Please let us know when there will be a service. If possible,my children and I would like to attend. Our Deepest Sympathies.
  • Genevieve Ricard  - You Were so Loved!!!
    I loved my grandmother so very much. I miss her and hope that she is smiling in heaven now with her parents and her beloved son. She was an amazing woman, but also such a caring grandmother. I remember a million shared laughs, sleep overs, and phone calls. I remember lovingly cooked meals, knitted sweaters, card games, and puzzles. You cared for me the week I had chicken pox, you are the one who picked me up when I got my wisdom teeth out, you were at my graduations from college, and my wedding, you helped me welcome my three children into the world. I can't wait to be with you again. For now, I will remember the good times, tell you my stories in my prayers, and share my .memories with your great-grandchildren and their children. When I get there, lets plan on Paprikush, pork chops, creamed spinach, and your apple crumb pie and we will finally watch Mama Mia at that sleep over.
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