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Katherine B. Pryzwansky

Posted By Hall-Wynne On June 14, 2011 @ 12:00 am In Obituaries | No Comments

Dr. Katherine Barthalmus Pryzwansky, 71, of Chapel Hill passed away peacefully on June 14, 2011. Kathy was born in Hazleton, PA to George and Mary Barthalmus. She was a first generation Greek-American and relished in her Greek heritage.
Kathy graduated from Penn State University in 1961, where she was one of the first women to achieve an undergraduate degree in the Biochemistry Department. She later received her PhD in 1978 in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while at the same time rearing two children, which was uncommon in those days. Thereafter she conducted her postdoctoral training at the University of Colorado at Boulder and returned to Chapel Hill to embark upon a faculty career of research, teaching and administration. For part of her career she served as Scientific Director of Special Procedures Laboratory and Assistant Director of Special Stains in the Hematology Laboratory at UNC Hospitals. She retired from UNC in 2002 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine.
Kathy was most interested in immunology and the emerging science behind the specificity of human antibody production, and specifically the neutrophil, a white blood cell representing the first line of defense against infections. Wearing multiple hats of immunologist, cell biologist, and pathologist, Kathy contributed significantly to our understanding of the neutrophil and its role in health and disease. She was a pioneer in the area of signal transduction and conducted some of the first studies in the compartmentalized action of cyclic nucleotides within neutrophils. Kathy advanced high-voltage electron microscopy using unsectioned, whole-mounted cells in order to image complete three-dimensional cell ultrastructure. She made significant contributions in the study of how the neutrophil cytoskeleton impacted the cell’s functions of chemotaxis, phagocytosis and degranulation. Throughout her career, the quality of Kathy’s work was evidenced by the prestigious nature of the journals where she published and the sources of her outside funding. Above all, she excelled as a mentor to graduate students and often reminded her students that one would be successful in science if you “Do your own thing.”
Kathy loved to travel, cook Greek cuisine, enjoy the Ponce Inlet, FL beach, explore her spirituality and, most of all, spend time with her grandchildren.
Kathy is survived by her husband of 48 years, Dr. Walter B. Pryzwansky of Chapel Hill; her mother, Mary Barthalmus of New Smyrna Beach, FL; son, David and wife, Molly and grandchildren, Lily and Cole of Cary; and son Scott and wife, Kelly and grandson, Theo of Greensboro.
The funeral will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday from St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 8306 NC Highway 751, Durham. Burial will be private. Friends may visit 5:30-8:00 p.m. Friday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 West Main Street, Durham.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to: the “Katherine B. Pryzwansky PhD Travel Fund” c/o Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UNC, Campus Box 7525, Chapel Hill, NC

Condolences for the family of “Katherine B. Pryzwansky”

Condolence from Clara Kripp Preputnick on June 16th, 2011 12:00 am

My husband and I offer our condolences to the family of Katherine.Sorry for your loss, Walter.I never met Katherine,but she must have been a very special loving and caring person from the write-up in the Hazleton paper.

Condolence from Leo Corradini on June 17th, 2011 12:00 am

Kathy and I were high school classmates and she was a good friend. Her parents, George and Mary helped me when I was stationed in Athens, Greece for four years in the Air Force. One of the best experiences of my life. My oldest daugher married a Greek American so I can still keep up with the many Greek traditions. My sincere condolences to the family.

Condolence from Susan Lord on June 19th, 2011 12:00 am

Kathy was a terrific colleague. Her enthusiasm for her research was contagious. She always had a smile and words of support for her students and coworkers. Our sincere condolences to her family.
Susan Lord and Dana Fowlkes

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