Wilbur O. Atwater, 60, suffered an incapacitating stroke in late 1904 in Washington, DC. His wife Marcia took him to Philadelphia to consult a specialist, but little could be done for him. Eventually, Atwater moved back to his home in Middletown, Connecticut, where he remained bedridden for the remainder of his life. His obituary in the New York Tribune said he had been “practically helpless” since the stroke.
His daughter Helen, who had worked with her father on his calorimetry research, spoke of “the agonizing days when for three years she sat outside her father’s bedroom door making up stories about his experiments at the laboratory to assure him that all was going well,” according to Atwater’s daughter, Catherine Atwater Galbraith (1913-2008).
After her father’s death in 1907, Helen W. Atwater (1876-1947) moved back to Washington to work in the scientific division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Home Economics. She later was editor of the Journal of Home Economics.
Atwater’s obituary in the New York Tribune September 23, 1907:
Reference: Catherine Atwater Galbraith: Wilbur Olin Atwater. J Nutr 124: 1715S-1717S. (full-text)