N. Karle Mottet

N. Karle Mottet, M.D., 85, a King County farm boy who became one of the global pioneers in environmental pathology and helped establish the early foundations of stem-cell research, died in a Puyallup-area hospice on April 24, 2009.

Dr. Mottet, “Karle” to his family and friends, held dual professorships in pathology and environmental health at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he was the acting chair of the Department of Pathology until his retirement in 1994. Hired by the UW in 1961, he had graduated from Washington State University and Yale Medical School, both with honors. He then taught at Yale University and did post-doctoral work at Cambridge University in England.

During a career that spanned 43 years, Dr. Mottet wrote, edited or contributed chapters to 13 significant volumes on modern medicine. One of these, “Environmental Pathology” (1985), remains a seminal anthology of environmental medicine. He was also published, either as a sole author or collaborator, by the world’s leading medical and scientific journals in at least 161 articles and abstracts.

Dr. Mottet served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during World War II, where he participated in the research that led to a cure for canine heartworm.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Mottet, and a son, Kurt Mottet. He is survived by daughter, Gretchen Mottet, and her partner, Blue Hesikx; and son, Mark, and wife, Pepper Mottet, who have three children, Adrianna, Aaron and Nakota.

The Mottets lived on Mercer Island for over 25 years, and all three children attended Mercer Island schools. Nancy was a noted watercolorist who was very active in the support of the visual arts.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, at the Mercer Island United Church of Christ, 4545 Island Crest Way. Remembrances are suggested to either the WA Environmental Council, Planned Parenthood or Physicians for Social Responsibility.