Dr. Marcus M. Key, retired physician and public health administrator, died October 31, 2020, in Irvington, Virginia. He was the son of Marcus M. and Annabelle (Farish) Key, born 1924, Lakeland, FL, and is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy “Pam” Key.
In World War II, Captain Key served as a B-29 navigator and radar navigator-bombardier with the 20th Air Force, part of the U.S. Army Air Forces (formerly the U.S. Army Air Corps) in the Pacific and flew on ten combat missions, including the “Last Mission” over Tokyo in August of 1945. His college and medical school education was at Columbia University in New York: B.A., 1949, and M.D., 1952. He received a Master of Industrial Health degree from Harvard in 1954.
Dr. Key specialized in occupational medicine and dermatology in his U.S. Public Health Service career, from which he retired in 1974 as Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Assistant Surgeon General with the rank of Rear Admiral. He dealt with the problems of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, vinyl chloride liver cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Dr. Key was a past president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and a past president of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. He was an honorary member of the Section of Occupational Medicine, Royal Society of Medicine.
His second career was as Professor of Occupational Medicine at the University of Texas School of Public Health, in Houston, from which he retired in 1993, with a subsequent appointment as Professor Emeritus. During his stay in Houston, he served on the Texas Air Control Board in Austin, and as the Interim Director, City of Houston Health Department. He also served as a consultant to the World Health Organization in Geneva and China, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Urban Air Toxics Research Center in Houston.
Dr. Key and his wife, the former Dorothy E. McTeigue of Larchmont, NY, moved to Moran Creek in Weems, VA, in 1993 and then to Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury in 2006. Dr. Key was a faithful Catholic and parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church. He was also a researcher at the Historic Christ Church and Museum and member of the Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Kay Family Association of the U.K. In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Marianne (Key) O’Grady and her husband William from Ada, MI; Dorothy Key (Grieco) and her husband John “Johann” from Irvington and Dumfries, VA; and Dr. Margaret S. Key from Bloomington, IN; a daughter-in-law, Maureen (Hussey) Key from Lake Forest, IL; a son, Dr. Marcus M. Key Jr., and his wife Maria from Carlisle, PA, and by 18 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Dr. Key was predeceased by his sons James and Robert. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Cancer Society.