In Loving Memory of Beryl Raymer

Beryl Raymer, 1925-2017

As a community-funded Foundation, we are indebted to our wonderful supporters who make our life-saving research possible. Sadly, one of our most generous, loyal supporters, Beryl Raymer, recently passed away. We are deeply grateful for the many years of support Beryl gave, and believe the ground-breaking research undertaken by our researchers will serve as a wonderful legacy in her memory.

Beryl Raymer was a great believer in the power of education to unlock an individual’s true potential. A natural educator and gifted communicator, having graduated from teacher’s college in 1943 when female teachers were in high demand due to the number of men enlisting in the second world war, Beryl’s talent for teaching and keen organisational skills led to rapid promotion.

But unlike the majority of women who had to forfeit their new-found independence when the men folk finally returned home from the War, Beryl was able to carve out an impressive career for herself in education.

In 1963, Beryl was the principal of Bathurst Primary School when she was selected to join an international delegation of education experts who were sent to Uganda for four months, to advise on infant teacher training.

On her return, Beryl continued to leave her indelible mark on a number of NSW school communities in the role of principal, before taking on a senior policy position within the NSW Education Department.

After her retirement, Beryl was able to devote more time to her dual passions; gardening and sport. In addition to being a member of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Beryl was a keen golfer and award-winning tennis player, and stayed physically active until well into her 80’s. However, her championing of education never stopped, and in 2013 after attending a presentation by Heart Research Australia researchers on the latest research into cardiovascular disease, Beryl made the visionary decision to establish the Beryl Raymer Scholarship Program to support PhD students of heart research.

Beryl was very proud of her scholars, and followed their progress closely. Not long before she passed away, she was able to meet with one of her alumni, Dr Keyvan Karimi who was shortly to take up a clinical fellowship at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York – one of the most prestigious centres in the world for clinical cardiology and research, where he is pursuing his research into the link between diabetes and heart disease. Dr Karimi attributed much of his success to Beryl’s early support, reflecting that: “Beryl played a big part in my development as an academic. Her support was invaluable and I was always very touched by the fact she took an ongoing interest in me.”

A very modest woman, Beryl shunned public acknowledgement of any kind. However, her alumni are continuing their promising careers in heart research, and may, at some future point, be responsible for the next big breakthrough in heart disease prevention or treatment. One day, thousands of Australian lives may be saved thanks to Beryl Raymer, and her passion for transforming lives and making a difference.