Elizabeth Hatfield-Keller M.D.
July 1, 1959 - Sept. 13, 2021
On Sept. 13, 2021, Elizabeth Hatfield-Keller passed away from a many-years-long battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her husband of 37 years, Greg Keller, and other members of her immediate family.
Liz was an Oregon Centennial baby born July 1, 1959. Her life epitomized Oregon's independent nature and the pioneer work-ethic. As a child Liz's love of science foreshadowed her career in medicine when, at age 10, she built a model of the human eyeball, learned and mastered every part of the "Human Vision System," and explained how sight worked to any adult willing to listen.
Her life's CV is filled with accomplishment and learning. Liz attended the University of Oregon completing degree work in psychology. She began working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and then as a paramedic. She went on to nursing school at Linfield College/Good Samaritan Hospital, graduating in the first nursing class in 1984. After spending five years as first an Emergency Department (ED) nurse and then as the evening assistant head ED nurse, Liz realized that all along her life's desire was to go to medical school. At age 34, she earned a Medical Degree in1993 from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
Residency, fellowship, and awards followed. Liz spent 16 years as an Emergency Department physician at OHSU and then moved to the VA Hospital where she was an Emergency Department physician from 2012 until just before her death. She was also an assistant professor for the Department of Emergency Medicine at OHSU from 1997 till her death. Liz served as an associate Medical Director for Multnomah County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). So respected was Liz that her colleagues at the Oregon Health Authority renamed their EMS Medical Director of the Year Award the "Elizabeth Hatfield-Keller EMS award."
Liz was the Medical Director for Reed College's student health center for 20 years, recently stepping down because of her health. For those same 20 years, she was also a volunteer physician and the supervising physician for paramedics during the summer at the Washington Family Ranch Young Life camp in central Oregon. In addition, she served on Young Life's national medical advisory board.
Liz was also particularly proud and honored to serve on the board of directors for both the Oregon Historical Society and the Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington. Her leadership and service to the state of Oregon and beyond, made a mark alongside and stride for stride with those of her late father, Mark O. Hatfield. His example was the lesson she learned from and practiced perhaps the most of all: "service to others before self, protect life and save life at all levels of threat, show compassion to all, trust in faith and family."
Liz reminded us of all the goodness of humanity, and she had the capacity to find the humanity in everyone. Liz was there to receive, to comfort, to triage, to serve. She counseled people how to advocate for themselves and for their own health. She explained medicine and the wonder of the human body to her patients in the simplest of terms, with a compassionate understanding.
Liz wore many hats: Dr. Liz, wife, sister, aunt, daughter, cousin, caregiver, Oregonian, volunteer, nurse, medical director, assistant professor, Portlander, physician, mentor, diplomat, EMT, camp physician, counselor and perhaps the one most often used, "friend."
Elizabeth Hatfield-Keller is survived by her loving husband, Greg Keller of Portland, Ore.; her mother, Antoinette Hatfield of Portland; her brother, Mark O. Hatfield, Jr. (Kathleen) of Miami, Fla.; her sister, Theresa Hatfield Cooney (Manus) of Potomac, Md.; and her brother, Charles Vincent "Visko" Hatfield (Sharron) of Bantam, Conn. She also leaves behind 12 nieces and nephews, who have all been influenced by her path of achievement and who have been fostered by her medical advice. Liz was predeceased by her father, Mark O. Hatfield.
Liz is also survived by many teams of physicians, nurses and, first responders with whom she worked, learned, and grew.
Elizabeth Hatfield-Keller's life reminds us of all the strength of the human body and spirit, and of the fragility of life itself. May God rest her soul and comfort those who knew her and who loved her.
The family is planning a celebration of Liz's life later in the spring of 2022.
It was Liz's wish that any memorial tributes be made in the form of charitable contributions to Portland's own: Friends of Hopewell House, a residential hospice care facility; and The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits
Published by The Oregonian from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, 2021.