Signhild (Meincke) Tamm of Falmouth, who had pursued careers in biology and psychology, died August 23 from a sudden illness. She was 74.
Born and raised in Eckernfoerde, Germany, Ms. Tamm was the daughter of the late Dr. Gustav W.K. Meincke and Marianne (Magnusson) Meincke. She was known as Signy.
Her childhood in Germany included travels to Sweden, where she had family, and taking part in one of the first postwar student exchanges between Germany and France. Passionate about science and the natural world, she studied biology at the University of Tuebingen in Germany in the 1960s, and, while working at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, she met Dr. Sidney L. Tamm, a cell biologist, and they married in 1969.
The Tamm family moved to Cape Cod in 1979. Ms. Tamm pursued a career as an electron microscopist at the Boston University Marine Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole for more than a decade, making discoveries in cell motility and the biology of comb jellies.
An item from the 1986 Enterprise archives reported that she and her husband had spent a week that spring in the Appalachian mountains collecting primitive wood roaches thought to be ancestors of termites. Their previous research into a protozoan within termites led to a proof of a cell’s fluid nature, a “discovery that necessitated a rewriting of textbooks.” The scientists would be using the wood-digesting ciliates, or protozoans with cilia, from the specimens collected on their trip to extend their work on cell motility, ultrastructure and development.
Ms. Tamm switched career paths in her 50s to pursue her longstanding interest in psychology. She received a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Lesley University, becoming a counseling psychologist at SMOC Behavioral Healthcare in Framingham.
In addition to a home in Falmouth, she and her husband also had a home in Newton for 17 years, and she filled her homes with plants, especially orchids. She explored conservation lands around Falmouth and Newton and also travels farther afield, including exploration and hiking in the Berkshires, Maine’s Bold Coast, the coast of Australia, and the Gaspé Peninsula in Canada.
Ms. Tamm was a supporter of Salt Pond Areas Bird Sanctuaries; a stone bench honoring her can be found at Falmouth’s Salt Pond.
In addition to her husband of 50 years, she leaves their two children, Peter L. Tamm and his wife, Carrie Tamm, and Ingrid J. Grudin and her husband, Max Grudin; three grandchildren; two brothers, Hans-Magnus Meincke and Gustav Meincke; and extended family.
A private celebration of her life is being planned.