Melvin Jerome Gortatowski, Ph.D.

Friday, Mar. 29, 2024
Melvin Jerome Gortatowski, Ph.D.
+ Enlarge
Melvin Jerome Gortatowski, Ph.D.

October 30, 1925 ~ March 1, 2024

Melvin J. Gortatowski died at age 98 on March 1, 2024, at his home in Salt Lake City from causes incidental to a fall sustained at his advanced age.

Mel was born on October 30, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Walter and Anna (Santowski) Gortatowski. He was a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church.

His high school years at Weber High in Chicago were accelerated due to the entry of the United States into WWII. He enlisted in the Reserve Corps, finished high school in only three years, and then entered active duty. He served in the Signal Corps behind enemy lines in Germany and Austria.

After the war, Mel studied chemistry, earning a B.S. from the University of Illinois (1950); an M.S. from Washington State University (1952); and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (1956), where he was an Eastman Kodak fellow. A post-doctorate fellowship in biochemistry brought him to Salt Lake City in 1955. He worked at the University of Utah as well as the Veterans Administration over the next 10 years.

Between 1965 and 1971, he worked as an assistant research professor at the University of Southern California Children’s Hospital. He returned to Salt Lake City to head up the newly created laboratory that was charged with screening the blood of every newborn baby born in Utah for phenylketonuria. He retired from his role as director of clinical chemistry and newborn screening in 1987.

Mel leaves behind a long list of godchildren, friends, colleagues and neighbors whom he considered his family, and they consider him theirs.

A huge thank you to John Catrow and Lynn and Mary Beth Whittaker, who helped Mel remain in his home to the very end. Thanks also to the caregivers of Bristol Hospice and to the many visitors who stopped in to see him the last eight months of his life.

A wake will be held April 10, from 6-8 p.m. at Stark’s Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Millcreek. A Mass for Mel will be celebrated by Father Andrzej Skrzypiec at the Cathedral of the Madeleine at 9:30 a.m. on April 11. Mel will be laid to rest alongside his parents in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Catholic Relief Services to help support displaced Ukrainians and/or Devine Mercy Care to help their mission to save lives.

For questions, comments or to report inaccuracies on the website, please CLICK HERE.
© Copyright 2024 The Diocese of Salt Lake City. All rights reserved.