The Heroines

Mary Ann Beattie M.D.

is honored with a Brick from Robert Beattie.

 Mary Ann Beattie M.D.My wife, Mary Ann Beattie, M.D., is my hero. She is also hero for her two daughters, Marja Tolbert of Oklahoma, and Heather Lauver of New York. One of the most memorable stories they have shared with me are of the times in the mid-1970s when their single parent Mom, who was then a poorly paid chief pediatric resident at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, could not arrange for affordable child care during her 24 hour ER shift, and so the two pre-teen girls had to sleep on her cot just off the emergency room. Times have changed some since pathmaker Mary Ann was one of only 15 women graduating from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1974, but for women physicians, child care, and pediatric residents, there is still a ways to go. Mary Ann does what she can to improve these and many, many other things.

Mary Ann has always been a social activist. We have a photo of her, eight months pregnant, carrying a sign in front of the Lincoln Memorial demonstrating in favor of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She has been an active member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and treasurer of the Kansas chapter for 15 years. To list her membership on many boards, her charitable contributions both of act and finance, her church activities over the years, and her good deeds as a physician would take a full book. Day after day she quietly, patiently, lovingly does many good things unnoticed.

Before she became a physician she taught biology and chemistry at Andover High School, and she taught German and English in an inner-city New Jersey junior high. (When she asked why she was being paid less than the male teachers in Andover, she was told this was because as a woman she was not the family's breadwinner. She was the family's breadwinner! At that time her first husband was unemployed.) She lived in New York City for three years and has traveled around the world. She has studied German and Spanish. She visited Russia during the Cold War, and once poked her nose a little too close to a live volcano in Hawaii. She loves music (plays and sings beautifully) and (unlike her stick-in-the-mud attorney husband) loves traveling.

Always seeking higher education, when she was in fourth grade she became upset because the librarian would not let her check out books that were at the sixth grade reading level. She graduated valedictorian from Wichita North High School in 1958, graduated magna cum laude from Wichita University in 1962, and graduated from KU Medical School in 1974. She was an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, and is now a full partner in The Wichita Clinic, with her office at their Mapleridge facility.

On our second date I started to throw something in a trash can when she stopped me, insisting that the item be recycled. She said that we have to do what we can for our environment. She is a special person in many ways, with broad concerns and interests. She is the funniest person I know, and her comedic humor comes out when she is not in the sober professional setting. She also has to have the coldest feet in the world. You'll have to take my word for that.

On a date not long before I proposed to her, I managed to completely surprise her with a prearranged hot air balloon ride. As for me, it still seems that we have never come down since we went up-up-and soaring away that perfect summer day in our beautiful, beautiful balloon.

Sbmitted by her husband, Rob Beattie

June 2, 1998