Henry R. Beilstein, Ph.D. (July 10, 2004)
HENRY R. Beilstein, a microbiologist with the city Health Department for 33 years, a prominent researcher, teacher and Biblical scholar, died Saturday. He was 83 and lived in Mount Airy. Beilstein made his mark in many fields of endeavor, from his chosen specialty of microbiology, to studies of sexually transmitted diseases, bacteriology, church work and his hobby of photography.
He was associated with a number of colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. Henry received numerous awards throughout his long and varied career, including the Legion of Honor of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains. “He enjoyed people,” his wife, Grace, said. “He liked being with people.” Beilstein, a Philadelphia native, was a graduate of Germantown High School and then studied at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, now the University of the Sciences. He received a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology, and master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology there. After graduation, he went to work for Merck Sharp & Dohme, in Glenolden, Delaware County, as an analytical chemist in plasma fractionation and later in organic chemistry.
He joined the city’s PublicHealth Department in 1945, initially as a biological processor, preparing sera, vaccines and antitoxins for immunization used by both the city and private physicians. The unit was discontinued in the mid-’50s and Beilstein became senior bacteriologist in clinical microbiology. He was shortly promoted toassistant director of the laboratory. Another promotion soon followed, to director of public health laboratories. He ran the department’s central laboratory and a number of satellite labs, with a total of about 82 employees. The labs were equipped to process all types of medical, environmental, chemical and water evaluations, including swimming pools, well water and others, for the Water Department. While with the Health Department, Beilstein taught extensively. He taught physicians, nurses, sanitarians and visiting health workers.
In addition, he instructed Temple students who were affiliated with the department for a month of training, and graduate students from Thomas Jefferson and Hahnemann Universities receiving instruction in public health laboratory techniques. Beilstein taught courses at just about every medical school in the city. In addition, he taught evening classes in medical technology for 15 years at the Franklin School of Science and Arts, and was director of its evening school program. After retiring from the city in 1979, Beilstein taught for eight years at Manor College, in Jenkintown, and was director and chairman of its Medical Laboratory Technician Program. He later was associate professor of microbiolgy at MCP/Hahnemann University School of Medicine and at the University of Artsand Sciences. He also served as associate professor of microbiolgy at Temple Medical School and the School of Podiatric Medicine. He also was professor of biology at Beaver College, now Arcadia University. Beilstein graduated from Philadelphia Biblical University in Bible and Christian Education.
He taught the Bible most of his adult life and most recentlywas Sunday School teacher at Berachah Church in Cheltenham.
He also was involved in research in sexually transmitted diseases and was author or co-author of several papers on neisseria gonorrhea. He wrote the chapter on the disease for Conn & Conn’s textbook, “Current Diagnosis.” He also worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in this field. Beilstein was a longtime member of the American Society for Microbiology, and held leadership positions with its Eastern Pennsylvania Branch. Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, David; a daughter, Janet Bitner; a brother, Tom; five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
He was predeceased by a son, Richard Alan. Services: 11 a.m. Thursday at Berachah Church, 400 Ashbourne Road, Cheltenham. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Roslyn, Montgomery County.