Newsletter: In Memoriam

Anna Melzer

Anna Melzer was the house staff coordinator until the mid 1990’s. She considered a mother figure to many residents and their families for many years. Here are some thoughts from colleagues:

Message from Dr. Mike Farrell: "I first met Ann in 1974. She had just accepted the role of House Staff Coordinator. I started here in August 1974. There had been some turn over in the office. Dr. Schubert was Chief of Staff and Director of the Residency Program. Ann was no stranger to him. She had worked in his office at Erkenbrecker and Elland when he was in private practice. He recruited her to Children’s. As they say, the rest is history.

She was “Mom” to the residents. She knew each and every one, knew their spouses, their kids as they came along. She had a fifth sense for when a resident was struggling. Her desk faced the entrance to the House staff area, she greeted each resident as they came in. She a wonderful as a recruiter. She arranged each applicant’s day. She knew all the faculty, and she could tell an applicant exactly who they were seeing. In those days, the program and facility was smaller. Faculty interviewed the applicants in their own offices. Ann would personally take each one around, introduce them, pick them up – very personal.

I took over the Residency Program in 1979. Ann was there until the mid 1990s. As we grew, she maintained the culture. She was the glue that help the program together through some rough years.

She arranged the first welcoming picnic of new house staff at her home – did it for years, then it moved to my house. She was instrumental in starting the three day orientation and welcoming of the new residents. I saw her function as an emergency baby sitter among other things.

I always thought “Mother Ann comes to me whispering words of wisdom.

Message from Dr. Steve Muething: "I was a resident and chief resident back in the 80’s. Needless to say things were quite different back then. No I am not going to say all of it was great. In fact some of it was darn tough and I’m glad things have vastly improved. But, one thing was wonderful about being a resident at CCHMC in the 80’s: Ann Melzer. In those days we were expected to do overnight call and work all through the next day. As chief resident we were in the hospital all night every third night and functioning every day for an entire year. My wife, Meg, and I had 3 kids by then and we were barely hanging on. Ann was always there for us no matter what we needed. I clearly remember Ann taking care of our 3 kids when they visited me in the hospital. She always checked in on Meg and perhaps most importantly, she was a shoulder to cry on when we didn’t think we could keep going. She understood what we were going through and her calm and optimistic manner made us able to get through one more day and then one more week. I’m not sure we would have made it without Ann. She was a hero to Meg and me and a fairy godmother to my kids.

My story is far from unique. She helped everyone survive. Ann Melzer was the secret sauce that made the CCHMC residency great. We all loved Ann."

Full obituary