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Dr Harry I. Zeltzer


Dr Harry I. Zeltzer, 91, died Wednesday August 12, 2020 in the Kaplan House, Danvers, following his brief illness. He was the husband of Joan E. Richards of Ipswich. Harry will always be remembered for finding great joy in life. He was a visionary and a true renaissance man with a big heart, an inventor, webmaster, artist, fisherman, sailor, who loved to dance.

Born in Dorchester July 3, 1929, he was the son of the late Benjamin and Fannie (Kimmel) Zeltzer. During WWII he was a medical technician in the Army of Occupation in Japan. Following his active service he practiced optometry in Waltham for thirty-five years, where he invented and patented a contact lens named X-CHROM for treating color deficiency. He was a consultant to Helen Keller International in its development of "Childsight" and served at Natick Lab as a Lt Colonel in the Army Reserves in the psychology department, studying the effects of military stress on the visual system. After retiring from practice and the military in 1986, he joined Volunteer Services for Humanity International, offering eye care in developing countries. In time he became the president and executive director of the parent organization.

Dr Zeltzer was the Essilor-UNESCO Humanitarian in 2003. He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Ocular Science from the New England College of Optometry in 2004, where he had graduated magna cum laude in 1952. In 2008 he was awarded the VOSH/International Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, now in his name, is conferred to other humanitarians. He was the Adjunct Professor of Optometry in the Department of Specialty and Advanced Care at NECO, where he lectured and published articles on color deficiency which are referenced in the Revised X-CHROM manual for faculty and students.

In addition to his devoted wife of thirty-eight years, he is survived by his children Lauren Zeltzer of Katonah, NY and Darryl Zeltzer of Manchester, grandchildren Lisa Zeltzer Warren of Brooklyn, NY, Julia Zeltzer Warren of New York City and Milo Zeltzer of Manchester, a sister, Betty Gray of Danvers, and stepson Bradford Kelly and his wife Tracy of Tampa, FL, and extended family. He was the brother of the late Abraham Zeltzer, formerly of Providence, RI.

A memorial service will be held at a future date and announced by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. Those who wish may make memorial contributions in his name to VOSH/International (www.vosh.org) or the New England College of Optometry (www.neco.org)


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