Mary Marchel

Houston County Director of Public Health Mary Marchel plays horseshoes with Minnesota Commissioner of Health Edward Ehlinger during a community event in 2017. Marchel is retiring after 33 years of public service.

After more than 30 years of public health service — including the last five as Houston County Public Health Director — Mary Marchel has decided to retire.

Marchel’s last day is today, Friday, Oct. 12. Prior to coming to Houston County, she was employed in the field of Public Health and Human Services in Beltrami County for 28 years.

In a press release celebrating Marchel’s career, the Local Public Health Association of Minnesota said Marchel dedicated significant time and effort to improve and protect the health and wellness of her local community. She was a pioneer in the development of ground breaking county tobacco-free policies, rural access to dental care and safe and responsible opioid treatment.

“In addition to Mary’s many contributions to both Public Health and Human Services, perhaps her greatest contribution has been her commitment to developing and mentoring countless Public Health and Human Services, perhaps her greatest contribution has been her commitment to developing and mentoring countless Public Health and Human Services professionals,” Houston County Director of Human Services John Pugleasa said. “I know this because I am one of them.

“Public service leaders are not born with the heart and skills necessary to be effective. The truth is, they learn from masters of the trade. Mary is one of those masters who always generously shared her wisdom. The welfare of people in Beltrami County as well as Houston County has been better served, and will continue to be better served because of Mary’s contributions to our profession.”

Heather Myhre, Health Educator from Houston County, added: “Mary was a champion of public health and took the responsibility of being ‘in service’ to the communities in Houston County seriously. Mary worked to build public health infrastructure internally and focused on the responsibilities and essential duties of local public health, while at the same time bringing a health equity lens to local public health work.”

Marchel also has been an active member of the Local Public Health Association of Minnesota, which works statewide to improve and protect the health of the population of Minnesota by providing leadership and advocacy on behalf of public health issues.

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