It is with deep sorrow and regret hat in recent weeks we lost two important and much-respected nembers of the National Rehabiltation Hospital (NRH) family. Samuel R. McFarland, director of rehabilitation engineering who died June 19, and Mary D. Romano, director of social work, who died July 31. With sadness and fond memories we remember Sam and Mary, two founding members of the NRH staff.
Samuel R. McFarland
Colleague, director, mentor, teacher, and friend, Sam McFarland was many things to many people at NRH. He was a knowledgeable, accomplished professional who was highly regarded both at NRH and in the national and international rehabilitation communities, yet he was humble, exuding kindness and treating all people as equals at all times. He was committed to the idea that assistive technology, when appropriately applied, is a link that can take the "dis" out of "disability".
Of all the hundreds of employees at the Hospital, he was responsible for initialing and carrying out some of our most important accomplishments," said NRH President Edward A. Eckenhoff. "With his knowledge, insight, and creativity, he empowered and assisted many of the individuals we serve in achieving independence."
Sam joined the NRH staff in its infancy, in December 1985. As director of Rehabilitation Engineering, he worked with his dedicated staff to develop many services for our patients, including the GEICO Technology Demonstration Center, the Performance Diagnostic Laboratory, the adaptive seating clinic, and the assistive devices clinic. He also was instrumental in having secured a $3.25 million, five-year award from the US Department of Education's National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research to establish at the Hospital one of only 17 federally funded Rehabilitation Engineering Centers.
Through these successes and his active leadership in his profession, Sam helped NRH achieve its reputation as a nationally respected leader in rehabilitation technology. He was on the Board of Directors of RESNA (the association for advancement of rehabilitation technology) and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American National Standards Institute, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. In April 1989, he was one of 20 rehabilitation technology experts from across the country to be selected by the National Rehabilitation Association as a Switzer Scholar.
Not only was he an accomplished professional, he was also a devoted husband, a caring father, a vintage-car buff, a painter, and a singer who was frequently seen strolling the halls of NRH as a member of the barbershop quartet.
We will all miss Sam greatly, hut will continue to cherish and enjoy our memories of all he did for NRH, our patients, and each of us who knew him.
Contributions may be made to NRH for the Sam McFarland Memorial Fund and should be sent to the Corporate Relations Office. The donations will be used to assist in the education of rehabilitation engineers and technologists entering the field. Please make your check payable to the National Rehabilitation Hospital and indicate that the contribution is for the Sam McFarland Memorial Fund.