Patricia Mann Mertz

Patricia Mann MertzPatricia was raised in central Illinois by her parents, John and Ernestine (Lester) Mann. She lived most of her life in her eclectic home in Miami, Florida. She loved to travel and filled her home with art collected from all over the world and art created by her and her husband, John S. Mertz. She was adventurous in mind and spirit, which translated to how she lived. She routinely welcomed family, friends, and artists into her home and had a passion for entertaining and creating exotic meals.

Pat and her husband raised three wonderful children. Pat is survived by: husband, John S. Mertz, son Kristin Mertz, Design Director at Edgewater Exhibits, LLC. in Miami, FL and his wife, Lourdes Solera and children, Alex, Logan and Ryan. Daughter Katria Mertz, a physician of obstetrics and gynecology in Eugene, Oregon and her husband, Paul Khoury and daughters, Ella and Uma. Daughter Kamara Mertz-Rivera, Director of Clinical Research at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and, husband Johnny Rivera, and children, Diego and Mahala. Pat’s seven grandchildren were her major source of joy. She is also survived by sisters Diana M. Goldenberg (David), Paula Mann Falk (Holger), and niece Allya Macdonald Maerz (John).

Pat graduated with a biology degree from the University of Miami in 1961 and began work as a researcher initially focusing on microbiology and subsequently a lifetime interest and work in the area of wound healing. Patricia’s collaborative work led to meeting related travels through the US, South America, and Europe. Pat and her family moved to Pittsburgh from Miami to develop a newly created University of Pittsburgh Department of Dermatology. Patricia later returned to the University of Miami Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery and was awarded a full professorship in 1996.

She became an integral part of the Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery through 4 decades. Her seminal works that greatly influenced practice included working on the development of Dermatophyte Test Media, and appreciation of pseudomonas in flower vases as a culprit of ICU sepsis. Pat was the first to publish about biofilms as a cause of delayed wound healing. She contributed to the creation and perfection of various wound healing models in pigs which became and remain the go to in vivo tests for products destined for clinical use. Many, if not most current wound products have been tested using these models. Based on considerable measure on Pat’s work along with other collaborators and students, she published hundreds of papers, abstracts, chapters and books. She mentored generations of fine physicians and researchers who continue to contribute to new treatments today.

Her personal and professional contributions were many and diverse. Pat was diagnosed with angiosarcoma of the breast in 2010 thought to be a result of radiation she received to treat breast cancer in 1995. Angiosarcoma is a rare form of cancer and difficult to treat.

The diagnosis of cancer did not define her last years of life but rather she met the challenge with great fortitude and determination. She stayed informed about her diagnosis and participated in her treatment decisions. Pat remained calm and positive with each new diagnosis and treatment. She set goals for her recovery, and made the majority of them. Most recently she was able to spend quality time with her family and friends doing what she loved the most, entertaining in her home.

Please join us in remembering Pat’s zest for life and for those lives that she touched with a donation in her memory to the Sarcoma Foundation of America.