Mary Headrick on issues that put People before Politics

Dr. Mary Headrick for Congress
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Dr. Mary Headrick for U.S. Congress, 3rd District, TennesseeMEET MARY HEADRICK

Mary knows what it is like to wonder if there will be food on the table.  Even though both her mother and father worked difficult jobs, there were times when the groceries and money ran out before Friday, payday.  This sometimes happened even though both parents worked full-time jobs.  Her father always worked two difficult jobs, one as a private roofer, another pulling crude rubber from the hot vats in the pit at Firestone Tire & Rubber Company; one of the most difficult jobs.  Her mother ‘stuck plants’ in a Greenhouse.  She grew up knowing that money did not grow on trees and that earning money was difficult but came from honest work.
Mary Headrick with her Grandkids
Public Education and College:  Mary was lucky.  She attended public school, had wonderful teachers and scored well on the test for a Firestone scholarship.  With the Firestone and a Lutheran scholarship, she attended Wittenberg University.  But in spite of working and saving from age 15 and working while in college, rising tuition exceeded her scholarships and savings.  Rather than ask her parents for financial help, she decided to transfer to a less expensive university.  She chose Tennessee, her parents’ birthplace, the area she loved and had visited throughout her nineteen years.  In 1968, she transferred to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in mathematics.  She babysat and worked as a sales clerk during those two years at UTK.

Mary, Detlef, their dogs and BobcatA Teacher and a Scientist:  After graduation, she taught math at Bearden Middle School, Knoxville for one year and then returned to UTK to work as a research assistant in the Physics Department and begin a new program, Master of Science in Computer Science.  In 1972, while continuing courses for her M.S., she began work at ORNL as a Computer Analyst and Systems Programmer.  She worked at Oak Ridge’s federal facilities from 1972-1979.

A Wife, Mother and Medical Doctor:  During this period, she and her husband, Detlef Matt, married and had two sons, Gunter and Patrick. Mary, wishing a more service-oriented career, applied to Medical school.  In 1979 she entered UT Center for Health Sciences in Memphis, graduating in 1983, followed by residency training in Internal Medicine at U.T. Medical Center in Knoxville.  She and Dr. Dan Ely shared the Chief Residency in their third year.  Since then, Mary worked in many East Tennessee Emergency rooms and clinics, including the Interfaith Health Clinic and Crossville Medical Group’s Ambulatory Care Clinic.  Mary is a member of the Lutheran church.

An Advocate:  Mary spent many hours in the 1990s working for health care reform and the principals of universal, affordable health care.  During that period she served on state and national committees of the American College of Physicians and local and state boards with the League of Women Voters.  When TennCare was implemented, Mary created the first notebooks to help providers and insurers implement the program.

Recently, Mary sponsored an August, 2011 Retreat for interested parties to learn more about Tennessee’s new photo ID law for voting and how it has a disproportionate and negative effect on the poor and elderly.

Family:  Mary’s husband, Detlef Matt, worked for thirty years in Oak Ridge in energy and environmental issues, including forest meteorology, acid rain and its dry deposition and solar energy networks.  He was employed by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  Mary’s son, Gunter, is a professional engineer with Bobcat/Doosan Infracore in North Dakota where he and his wife are raising their three children.  Mary’s son, Patrick, graduated in May 2012 with a Doctor of Osteopathy from LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.  He is now doing he residency in Miami Lake, Florida.

Hobbies:  Mary’s hobbies include carpentry, construction, kayaking, sewing and reading.  She and Detlef built most of their current home in Union County where they have lived for nine years.  Mary’s former hobbies included hiking the Smokies, refereeing AYSO soccer games and playing tennis.  One of her favorite Christmas presents from her husband was a manual Porta-nailer for putting down oak floors.

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