Honoring Mary-Ellen Katz PDF Print

Mary-Ellen Katz, Herbal Dispensary Manager from May 2008 to November 2011, was a highly valued member of the OCOM Clinic Team. She died on November 1, 2011, due to complications stemming from Type I Diabetes.

A graduate of OCOM’s master’s program in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM), Mary-Ellen’s leadership was incredibly valuable in ensuring access to Chinese herbs for OCOM students, patients, alumni and community practitioners. As Herbal Dispensary Manager, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the medicinary, and took on the challenging task of developing its systems and ensuring compliance with the 2008 FDA guidelines for medicinal herb dispensary operations.

Mary-Ellen was also one of the staff’s favorite employees to work with, in no small part due to her no-nonsense attitude. While she could be strongly opinionated, she rarely allowed political considerations to cloud her communication. She was a straight talker.

She will always live in our memory and in our hearts.


MARY-ELLEN KATZ, 57, died Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011 at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, OR., due to complications stemming from Type I Diabetes. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert D. Katz and Rosalie Katz (née Vecchione). She is survived by her loving husband, Gary Gutierrez; two brothers, Robert M. Katz of Lyndhurst, OH., and Michael Katz of Aurora, OH.; an aunt, Mary Balmford (née Vecchione) of Ashtabula, OH.; four nieces; one nephew; and two cousins.

Mary-Ellen Katz was born in Cleveland and raised in Cleveland Hts. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture (Entomology) from Purdue University in 1977. Upon graduation she worked in a research laboratory at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It was in Salt Lake City that she met her husband. They later moved to St. Croix, USVI, where she enjoyed the sun and beaches and worked at Country Day School and was the Office Manager for the St. Croix Swimming Association. In 1996, they moved to Portland, where she studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and obtained a master’s degree in Oriental Medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.

She founded Blue Heron Medicine, where she utilized Traditional Chinese Medicine to assist patients in achieving personal wellness. She chose the name ”Blue Heron” for her practice as blue herons are known to be "self-reliant" and "jacks-of-all-trades" -- two characteristics that she embodied in both her professional and personal life. She loved music, the beach, poetry, practicing Tai chi, and bird-watching. While her life's journey included many destinations, her sense of humor, wit, and loyalty fostered cherished friendships every step of the way. A private memorial service [was] held Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Portland. Memorial donations in the name of Mary-Ellen Katz may be sent to the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 1022, Ridgefield, WA 98642.