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Saved lives as an ER doc, buried a sports car

Michael Mercy ’87, Trustee

A picture of Michael Mercy

Emergency doctor and trauma specialist Michael Mercy ’87 died in Boise, Idaho, on May 13, 2015, from cancer.

Mike came to Reed from Boise, Idaho, and quickly made his mark on campus, where he learned to fence, whisked the Doyle Owl away from the Society for Creative Anachronism, and participated in a truly epic prank—the burial of an MG Midget under the Hauser Library. He also was a founding member of the African American Student Union.

He majored in chemistry and biology, writing his thesis with Prof. Ronda Bard [chemistry 1984–89] and Prof. Ann Frazier [biology 1986–89]. He went on to earn an MD from Johns Hopkins in 1992 and was honored to serve as chief resident in his final year at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Mike then returned to Boise and specialized in emergency medicine for more than 20 years. He was a doctor of emergency medicine for Emergency Medicine of Idaho and St. Luke’s Health System. He also served as chair and medical director of the emergency department at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and as a consultant for the American College of Surgeons, verifying trauma facilities throughout the nation. After earning an EMBA from Boise State University in 2012, he became the chief medical officer for Predixion Software.

“He was able to create an immediate connection with those he came in contact with, in a way precious few can,” says his family. “Perhaps most importantly, he used that connection to understand the needs and aspirations of those around him, in an effort to help them achieve their goals. Mike really cared about people and wanted to help everyone be the best they could be.”

Mike loved jazz and R&B music and Boise State University football. He was a nationally ranked foilist and a competitive cyclist; he skied and played squash. He served on the boards of the Idaho Black History Museum and the Ada County Medical Society, advocated access for citizens to substance abuse treatment and mental healthcare, and frequently gave talks on substance abuse at local high schools.

Mike love Reed and served as a trustee for eight years. “Mike’s commitment to students was readily apparent to me from the first day we met, and grew steadily in the ensuing years,” says Mike Brody, vice president of student services. “As a clinician and a deeply compassionate human being, he brought not only his intellect and training, but also his heart and soul to his work. Mike’s patients and professional colleagues were privileged to have known him, and all of us at Reed owe him a debt of gratitude. We will miss him.”

Mike and Debra Green were married in 1996 and welcomed triplets Paige, Blake, and Cameron in 2000; Cameron lived for just two hours in the care of his loving parents. Mike and Deb divorced in 2006. Eight years later, he married Heather Youngwerth. Tragically, it was on their honeymoon that he developed the first symptoms of the cancer that took his life. Survivors include Mike’s wife, Heather; Paige and Blake; stepchildren Abby, Alex, and Drew; his mother; his twin sister, Leanne; and his grandmother.

Gifts in Mike's memory will support Mike's Bikes, a lottery bike-share program at Reed. Please visit our giving site and indicate "Mike's Bikes" in the notes section.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2015

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