Miriam Walsh Lampen

January 5, 1924 ~ February 19, 2021 (age 97)


Passed away Friday, February 19, 2021, at the age of 97, with her loving companion Dr. Jackson Toby, Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Rutgers University, by her side.

Miriam was a kind, affectionate and caring mother of three sons, the late David Allan (Mary Ellen Flaherty), Peter Clark (Barbara) and Richard Jay (Susan). Miriam (or Mimi as they knew her) was the devoted grandmother of six to Katharine, Elizabeth, David, Clark, Caroline and Jennifer and great-grandmother of six, as well as the beloved aunt of Carol Wells Giordano and her five nephews. She relished her relationship and loved the time she spent with her daughters-in-law, who in turn saw her as a second mother. She was predeceased by her loving husband of 53 years, Dr. J. Oliver Lampen, who had served as Professor of Microbiology and Director of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University.

Miriam was born on January 5, 1924 in Greenwich, CT to Walter and Pauline Walsh. Miriam and her two younger sisters, the late Jean Wells and the late Ruth (Dolly) MacDonald, grew up in Greenwich. Miriam attended the local Catholic elementary school, where she was the favorite of the nuns for her hard work and sweet disposition, and then Greenwich High School (where she always reminded us that Truman Capote was her classmate). As a child she loved swimming and boating at the Greenwich beach as well as reading, roller skating and all variety of sports. After graduating at the top of her high school class, Miriam attended the Katharine Gibbs School in New York City before going out into the working world. One of her first positions was as an executive assistant at American Cyanamid in Stamford, CT where she met the love of her life Joe Lampen, a recent PhD graduate soon to head into a career in academia. They were married on November 4, 1944 at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City. With Miriam at his side, they started on a path that took them to St. Louis, Cleveland and finally in 1953 to New Brunswick, NJ, with two sabbatical years at the Medical Research Council in Mill Hill, England along the way. Miriam was Joe’s partner throughout, a gourmet chef and gracious hostess to Nobel Prize winners and other leading scientists of the day, while the loving mother of three busy boys, attending every school and sporting event. Miriam had a life-long love of learning, belonging to the New Brunswick Study Club for over 50 years and actively participating in its meetings up to recent months. As her youngest son advanced towards high school, she decided to pursue her childhood dream of attending college. At age 48, Miriam graduated in 1982 with honors from Douglass College, Rutgers University, with a degree in psychology and a keen interest in retirement counseling. Miriam and Joe loved to travel, and she accompanied him around the world as he lectured at scientific conferences. Into her 70’s she remained an active tennis player and until the end was a voracious reader and book club member. Miriam was a committed volunteer working to improve the Central New Jersey community. She served for many years as a Board member of numerous organizations, including the Visiting Homemakers, Highland Park Family Service Agency, Rutgers Preparatory School Parents Association, Zimmerli Art Museum and Laurel House, where she met Jackson, with whom she shared love and companionship for the last 10 years. While not always agreeing on politics or interior decorating, they enjoyed a love of conversation, their newspapers, winters in Siesta Key, good food and most of all each’s others company. Miriam was an active member for over 60 years of Christ Church in New Brunswick, where her ashes will be interred next to Joe and David.

The family is so thankful for the loving care provided to Miriam by Lorie Gardner BSN, RN, NBC-HWC, and by the staff of Parker at Stonegate. Miriam was a devoted friend to so many and was deeply loved and will be sorely missed. The family suggests donations to the following organizations in Miriam’s memory: Christ Church in the City of New Brunswick, Associate Alumnae of Douglass College and Zimmerli Art Museum Director’s Fund.

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