Barb Melzer, I Will Miss Your Brain

Barb MelzerIt is with a heavy heart that I write this post, one I sincerely wish I didn't have to. My esteemed colleague and friend, Dr. Barbara Melzer, PT, PhD, DPT, FAPTA, has passed away. The world has lost a kind and intelligent soul and the physical therapy profession has lost a legend. Her captivating smile, is no more.   If I may summarize her bio: Dr. Barbara Melzer, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA has been an active participant in physical therapy clinical practice and education for 38 years. She has served as the Texas Physical Association President and Chief Delegate. She has served on the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Board of Director and as APTA Secretary, as well as the Chair of the APTA Nominating Committee. She served as an officer of the APTA Education Section for 6 years and Commissioner on the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) as a Team Leader. She was a co-editor of the Normative Model of Physical Therapist Professional Education, Version 2000, and has presented almost too many times to count on matters related to clinical education in physical therapy. She has impacted countless physical therapy education programs through the activities above as well as through her widespread consultation. She has served on dozens of doctoral dissertation committees. At Texas State she served as Professor, and Director of Clinical Education, and has represented the School of Health Professions on the Faculty Senate and was a multiple winner of the Texas State University Presidential Award for Service. Dr. Melzer was awarded the status of Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 2003, the highest honor for members of the APTA. Through the incredible span of her service and lengthy list of accomplishments, she has impacted the profession in ways no words can accurately capture. But more than these accomplishments, she was strong. She was generous, and entertaining. She may have been the only faculty on her phone more than I during faculty meetings, which I appreciated.  She could distill most of the world's problems to a primary color. She was a balanced, thoughtful and wise voice of council that I will personally miss, and Texas State University will not be the same without her. Please join me in extending thoughts and prayers for Barb and her family, and raising a toast in her honor. Let's celebrate a life of excellence and service, lest we invoke her ire for stopping to be sad for too long. Barb Melzer, I will miss your brain. I will miss our conversations. I will miss your smile. Her memory and contributions to the profession will live on forever. Update: The College of Health Professions and the Department of Physical Therapy will establish a scholarship to honor Dr. Melzer’s contributions to the College, Department of Physical Therapy, and Texas State. Donations will be accepted in memory of Dr. Barbara Melzer. Please make checks payable to the Development Foundation and mailed to:
Texas State University-San Marcos Development Foundation
Attn: Donor Services, JCK-480
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Update #2: Barb had worked with a charity she helped found, Texas WINGS, that provides health care to uninsured women with breast cancer. She served on the board as secretary and treasurer of this charity. With this in mind, this is another avenue by which those who wish to donate in Barb's memory can take action.
About Eric Robertson

Dr. Eric Robertson, the founder of and, is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Regis University in Denver, CO. In addition to writing, he is a connoisseur of many things, ranging from coffee to bonsai trees. He specializes in orthopaedic manual physical therapy, radiology, evidence-based practice, and the impact of technology on healthcare.

  1. Allan Besselink, PT, Dip. MDT 02/18/2013, 8:47 am Reply

    Eric – Sad words, indeed. I first met Barb in the early/mid ’90s. She was one of the people that really inspired me to teach and supported me in the process. But more importantly, she was always a friend and someone you could seek out for her wisdom. Barb was a tremendous advocate for what our profession really could – and should – be. I will miss her dearly – not only for what she brought to our professional realm, but for her sheer presence in my world.

  2. Eric Robertson 02/18/2013, 8:50 am Reply

    Awesome phrase, “sheer presence in my world.” She welcomed me to Texas State so unconditionally and was encouraging always. The wisdom she brought to our faculty was truly priceless. There are few people I know who have impacted so many.

  3. Natalie Weiblen-Henry, PT 02/18/2013, 9:29 am Reply

    I am so sad to hear of this news. She was an incredible mentor indeed. One can only hope to leave such a legacy.

  4. Michelle Bockholt Brewer, PT 02/18/2013, 10:27 am Reply

    Dr Melzer will be greatly missed by many. If it weren’t for her guidance and encouragement I probably would not have pursued PT school, and for that I am eternally grateful! She had a kindness like no other, and a smile to warm you on your darkest days. I am deeply saddened by her passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family at home, at Texas State University PT program, and among the PT profession.

  5. Jennifer Green-Wilson 02/18/2013, 3:50 pm Reply

    Eric – what a kind tribute. Thinking of you.

  6. Eric Robertson 02/18/2013, 4:13 pm Reply

    The College of Health Professions and the Department of Physical Therapy will establish a scholarship to honor Dr. Melzer’s contributions to the College, Department of Physical Therapy, and Texas State. Donations will be accepted in memory of Dr. Barbara Melzer. Please make checks payable to the Development Foundation and mailed to:

    Texas State University-San Marcos Development Foundation
    Attn: Donor Services, JCK-480
    601 University Drive
    San Marcos, TX 78666

  7. Linda Eargle 02/18/2013, 4:23 pm Reply

    For the family and close colleagues of Barbara, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve learned to cherish those moments when we have the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness, humility, kindness and a true visionary. The moments are rare. I will forever cherish the moments I had an opportunity to be in Barbara’s presence.

  8. Patty Collier 02/18/2013, 7:58 pm Reply

    Dear Texas State faculty and students,

    I am so sorry to hear about Barb’s passing. She was a dynamic, warm, and inspiring person. We will all miss her in the PT and PTA world. My sympathies to Barbs family, friends, colleagues, and students.

  9. Miriam 02/19/2013, 6:16 am Reply

    Though I have not seen Barb in a long while, I will miss her. She was just the kind of person that made the places she visited, the conversations she had, and the lives she touched, better. Thank you, Barb, for all your wonderful advice and guidance over the years. You have indeed left this world a kinder, gentler place.

  10. Alma 02/19/2013, 7:26 am Reply

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Dr. Barb Melzer. I had the pleasrue to work with her to start up the PT program in the Graduate College. It first started as a master’s degree and I was on the committe to set it up. She was a great person with always a smile on her face and so kind. She made my job easy. She will be missed but I am glad that I can say that I worked with Dr. Melzer. My condolences to her family and her family at Texas State.

  11. Deborah Wachsmuth 02/19/2013, 7:44 am Reply

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words. Barb was one of those truly exceptional people that will be missed by literally everyone who knew her. Her beautiful smile lit up the room, and I will forever think of her as a lovely generous spirit. She is an inspiration to us all, and I will miss her. My heart goes out to the family and friends she loved and cherished. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you face this difficult time.

  12. jen cline 02/19/2013, 8:45 am Reply

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Texas State and Barb’s family. What a loss for the physical therapy profession. Thank you for your kind tribute.

  13. Merry Lynne Hamilton 02/19/2013, 9:12 am Reply

    Thanks, Eric, for an insightful tribute. Barb also brought wisdom and a sly, dry sense of humor to meetings of the Texas Consortium for PT Education (DCEs from TX schools). She was a great role model for several generations of PTs.

  14. Laura Boas PT 02/19/2013, 8:35 pm Reply

    Barb leavened many meetings with her wit, and grounded them as well – the gift of her clarity has kept many a project on track. I am grateful, and so lucky, to have been mentored by Barb, who has made me a better clinical educator and better citizen of the physical therapy profession. She has done so much, developed so many therapists, and always with a light hand and humor. Truly a life worth celebrating! I wish peace and comfort to all in Barb’s vast circle.

  15. Nanette Karrenbrock Blacklock PT 02/20/2013, 3:20 pm Reply

    Barb was my professor at UTSAHSC back in 1983. She showed interest in every student. She has done so much for our profession. She will truely be missed but never forgotten!

  16. Stephanie Kelly 03/16/2013, 5:05 pm Reply

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Barb Melzer. I knew Dr. Melzer as a professor in my PhD program through Nova Southeastern University where I had her for several course and then as chair of my dissertation committee. Her insights, support, and encouragement were invaluable to me.

  17. Vicente Rodea Jr. 03/28/2013, 6:24 am Reply

    Dr. Melzer,
    A pioneer, a mentor, an inspiration, a hero.

  18. Florence thillet-Bice 04/11/2013, 6:03 pm Reply

    I am sorry to hear about Barb’s passing. She was one of first PTs I met when I moved to San Antonio. She was a mentor to me when I was involved in Academia. She always had a smile and a kind word whenever I saw her at the many APTA/TPTA meetings we attend over the years. She was an inspiration to many. She will be missed.