Dr. Mary Jones, my dear friend and colleague.
It is a cold November night when the phone is ringing. I answer. It is Paige Nues sobbing softly! Perhaps with tears running down her cheeks. My first thought reaches out to her daughter Katie and her family! She appears very distressed and sounds as if she is crying. She tells me about Mary’s sudden passing away at night after she had been at work “a long working day” in the Rett syndrome clinic which she had set up at Oakland Children’s.
“What happened Paige?” and she explains Mary’s sudden unexpected departure from our current world. What a tremendous loss to her very dear family of whom she spoke with so much love and affection. She adored her grandchildren and was always there for them. She was a very dedicated loving wife, mother, grandmother, and a caring physician who was always there for her patients!!
My acquaintance with Mary dates back several years when Paige introduced her to me in Portland, at Oregon Health and Sciences University, Child Development and Rehabilitation Center in the Rett syndrome clinic. I had initiated this multidisciplinary clinic to evaluate and treat children referred for diagnosis and management of Rett syndrome. I had met Paige earlier and found her to be very dedicated and knowledgeable person who wanted to help her daughter and other families whose daughters had Rett syndrome. Through her and her husband Jesse’s efforts their dream had been fulfilled under Mary’s leadership and “Katie’s Clinic” was born at the Oakland Children’s Hospital. Mary had been their daughter Katie’s pediatrician.
There were several occasions and many phone contacts I had with Mary regarding team approach in the management of girls with Rett syndrome. Mary was very dedicated to her patients and staff and reached out to those who needed her skillful assistance. She invited me on several occasions to speak to her multidisciplinary team as their program got off the ground running. It was a thoughtfully organized diagnostic and treatment center known as “Katie’s Clinic” Her clinical team was impressive in evaluating girls for respiratory difficulties, GI problems, seizure diagnosis and management, orthopedic issues, providing not only diagnosis but therapy and management ie Hippotherapy (Horse-back riding) swimming, music and collecting data for long term studies on Rett syndrome.
I invited Mary to become a member of the NW Rett Syndrome Foundation which she did as she truly had a passion for integrating her wisdom into excellent care for the girls and families whom she saw. She frequently attended our annual meetings, and on several occasions was our as a guest speaker sharing her experiences and adding to our knowledge. We will miss her exuberance, smiles, empathy and love all wrapped in one as she reached out with open arms and hugs for all.
I have not had the opportunity of meeting her loving family but have seen their photos and those of her grand-children. I know that she bestowed her complete love and affection on them speaking with such pride and joy about each one as she smiled with a twinkle in her eyes full of gleam.
Memories made will never be forgotten and have created a lasting impression on those who are left behind. Everyone became a better person for having such a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, a friend and their doctor.
Thank you Mary for you many contributions. We will miss you always.
Sudge (Sarojini Budden MD) Portland OR