In Loving Memory of Dr. Charm and Shirley Charm
Born in 1926, Dr. Stanley was an alumnus of the Boston Latin School (1944), University of Massachusetts Amherst (BS), University of Washington (MA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS and ScD). Of all the schools he attended, he always said that he learned the most at Boston Latin. In May of 1944, upon graduation from Boston Latin, Dr. Charm enlisted in the army.
In January of 1946, after attending Officer Candidate School, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He then served in Japan for 10 months in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters before being honorably discharged in 1947. Dr. Charm later served in the Army Reserves.
After graduating from MIT in 1958, he was appointed a faculty member in the Department of Food Science. In 1964 Dr. Charm accepted a position at Tufts University to establish the New England Enzyme Center. The establishment of the Enzyme Center was instrumental in birthing the industrialization of the life sciences in Massachusetts. At the Enzyme Center he developed medical diagnostic tests and oversaw the mass production of medical and biochemical products, such as enzymes and proteins, for use in medical research and treatment of diseases. He was also appointed a professor in the physiology dept of Tufts Medical School. As a professor, Dr. Charm authored The Fundamentals of Food Engineering (1961) and Blood Flow and Circulation (l974), and over 100 research papers.
In 1978, Dr. Charm launched his first business venture, Penicillin Assays, which later became Charm Sciences, to produce and market his invention of a rapid test to detect penicillin in milk. Originally located in the Garment District in Boston, and then Malden, and currently headquartered in Lawrence with facilities in North Andover and Andover, Charm Sciences is recognized as a global leader in the food safety industry.
For the past 42 years, Dr. Charm, as President of the company, together with his wife, Shirley, led the company, focusing its work on improving food, water, and environmental safety through the development of diagnostic tests and equipment.
Today, Charm Sciences operates in more than 100 countries and more than 75% of the world’s raw milk supply is tested with Charm Sciences products. The success of the company is attributable, in large part, to Dr. Charm’s commitment to excellence, quality control, fairness, problem-solving, and effective leadership.
Dr. Charm inspired and motivated everyone he worked with to be better scientists, managers, workers, and people, and he mentored younger colleagues which helped build ‘a deep bench’ and ensure a strong management team for years to come. Dr. Charm’s professional colleagues, friends and family members all knew him as creative, curious, driven, and unpretentious. Always an innovator and scientist, he was energized by problems that demanded complex engineering or science-based solutions. This drive led Dr. Charm to be the innovator behind numerous patents, including the first rapid microbiological test in 1978 that reduced the time for testing of milk and other food products from days to 15 minutes.
Dr. Charm also was a ‘man ahead of his time.’ He encouraged his daughters to pursue chemical engineering when women were almost nonexistent in the field. Decades before the current pandemic, Dr. Charm focused on the dangers of germs and viruses and cautioned against shaking hands and practiced social distancing. In the 1960’s, before electric bicycles, Dr. Charm outfitted his bicycle with a small homemade motor.
In his marriage, Dr. and Mrs. Charm were true partners in raising their children, supporting their community, traveling, and building and leading Charm Sciences. For the 42 years prior to his illness, Dr. Charm and his wife commuted to and from work every day, and at work, or while working at home on weekends and evenings, they shared and partnered in the management of their company.
Dr. Charm learned to sail at MIT and later owned and captained his own sailboat for many years. He exercised daily until his health deteriorated in recent months, followed a strict self-developed health diet, and he dressed with a flair, often wearing bowties, bright colors, and hats. Dr. Charm was a philanthropist who generously, but quietly supported many organizations including several hospitals and academic institutions. Dr. Charm was always quick to say “yes” to requests for financial support, but he never asked for public recognition, and he often insisted on anonymity. Dr. Charm was an avid supporter of Israel and committed to combatting antisemitism.
Shirley was a woman of strength and was devoted to her husband, family and Charm Sciences. Shirley worked tirelessly over the years supporting customers, some of whom became lifelong friends. She helped create the Charm brand that is synonymous with quality and confidence in antibiotic detection. Shirley’s vision helped develop international relationships that expanded the reach of Charm’s food safety solutions in over 90 countries.
Shirley’s priority was the well-being of Charm team members and distributors. The ownership of the company remains with the Charm Family Trust and we are honored as a team to have the opportunity to carry on their legacy going forward. Shirley and Dr. Charm will continue to live on in our daily work as we provide food safety solutions around the globe protecting the foods our families consume.